Hindu radical groups on Wednesday declared to go ahead with their conversion events, couched as homecoming ceremonies, lined up this month despite the controversy over a similar function in Agra two days ago.
Sunil Singh, state president of the Hindu Yuva Vahini that Yogi Adityanath had floated, said there’s no change in plan to convert over 2,000 people in a huge programme at Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh on December 18.
“We have taken permission from the administration. The Hindu Yuva Vahini plays a key role in ghar wapsi (homecoming) of people who have embraced Christianity or Islam by coercion or otherwise.”
He said several Muslims in Gorakhpur wanted to convert to Hinduism and around 1,200 people changed their faith at a camp in Kushinagar district two months ago.
Singh denied allegations that people were converted at the Gorakhnath temple in Gorakhpur, where firebrand BJP MP Adityanath is the head priest.
The Dharam Jagaran Manch, against whose members an FIR was drawn for the Agra incident, remained unfazed by the crackdown and announced it would proceed with its proposed programme in Aligarh.
Rajeshwar Singh, the regional head of the outfit, said the FIR was unjustified. “But it will have no impact on our plan for a conversion programme in Aligarh on Christmas. Nearly 5,000 Christians and Muslims will embrace Hinduism that day,” he said.
An RSS leader said the homecoming functions in December would be hosted as scheduled. “We have events on December 23 for Muslims who had converted from Hinduism and voluntarily want to return to the Hindu fold. On December 25, we plan to have a similar function for Christians.”
But the Agra row has cast a show over these programmes, an RSS source said. “We have been asked to go slow, at least for the time being.”
(With inputs from Manish Chandra Pandey in Lucknow)