Mass conversion in India PM’s home state sparks anger

Scorpion

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Mass conversion in India PM’s home state sparks anger



The radical World Hindu Council said it converted Christian tribal people to their original Hindu faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s western home state of Gujarat. (File photo: Reuters)​



AFP, Ahmedabad
Sunday, 21 December 2014
Hardline Hindu groups came under fire Sunday after some 200 Christians were converted in the Indian prime minister’s home state, amid increasing concern at the right-wing government’s perceived pro-Hindu tilt.

The radical Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP or World Hindu Council) said it converted Christian tribal people to their original Hindu faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s western home state of Gujarat late Saturday.

The mass event drew widespread criticism from Christian groups and Modi’s political opponents on Sunday. They accused radical organisations linked to Modi’s ruling party, like the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of forcing or enticing religious minorities to convert to Hinduism.

“Extreme right wing is flexing its muscles. VHP/RSS through Hindutatva ("Hinduness") ... rewriting history and economic policies,” Digvijay Singh, a leader of the opposition Congress party, posted on Twitter early Sunday.

A Gujarat-based priest said he could not “accept that anyone who has been a Christian will convert to other religion by personal choice.”

“VHP is forcing people and luring them to convert their religion,” Father Dominic was quoted as saying by Zee News channel’s website.

Saturday’s mass ceremony took place in a tribal village 350 kilometers (215 miles) south of the state capital Ahmedabad.

It happened hours after Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor RSS called for a new law to ban “forced religious conversions.”

“Over 200 people were asked to throw their religious pendants in a holy fire and were given new pendants with the image of (Hindu) Lord Rama,” Ajit Solanki, a Gujarat state VHP secretary, told AFP.

Solanki however denied using any kind of force or monetary promises, maintaining that the conversions were voluntary.

The world’s most populous democracy is a secular country under the constitution and religious freedom is considered a fundamental right.

The issue of mass conversions has paralyzed India’s parliament, with opposition lawmakers demanding Modi make a statement on earlier reports of poor Muslims being coerced into Hinduism.

A hardline group linked to the BJP was accused of converting some 50 slum-dwelling Muslim families about a week ago in the Taj Mahal city of Agra.

One of the converts told AFP they were promised ration cards and other financial incentives if they switched religions.

Critics say Hindu hardline groups have become emboldened since the BJP was elected, promoting a Hindu-dominant agenda.

Modi, who spent his early years in the RSS, has made no comment on religious issues since becoming premier.

He was himself accused of failing to curb 2002 anti-Muslim riots that claimed at least 1,000 lives when he was chief minister of Gujarat.

He has always rejected the accusations and India’s Supreme Court found no evidence to prosecute him.

India is 80 percent Hindu while Muslims make up 13.4 percent of the 1.2 billion population. Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs and other religions account for the rest.

http://english.alarabiya.net/en/News/asia/2014/12/21/Mass-conversion-in-India-PM-s-home-state-sparks-anger-.html
 

musicmonster

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Wow, seriously, this whole forcefully converting people to a new religion thing is should be so 1800's! Religion is the very root of war and all things shady in the world. I wish people would just stop and meditate for a while only to find it ain't the solution afterall. These guys forcing people to convert should do that.
 

d4rk3n

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"It happened hours after Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its ideological mentor RSS called for a new law to ban “forced religious conversions.”"

Aah, the irony.
 
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Were they forced to convert or were they bought? The reports said that there were incentives given to encourage the poor villagers to change their religion. This is not exactly something new. All through the history of religion, people have changed religions when they believed that doing so would better their lives economically.
 

musicmonster

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Were they forced to convert or were they bought? The reports said that there were incentives given to encourage the poor villagers to change their religion. This is not exactly something new. All through the history of religion, people have changed religions when they believed that doing so would better their lives economically.
I say these people should pause and chill and take a moment to meditate. This whole thing doing by force is not going to bring forth anything good anyway. It is people's lives they are messing with. It's so messed up in so many levels.
 

xTinx

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How much of those allegations were true only the converts can say. If they were coerced into joining the religion, then the prime minister should do something about it as such an action violates basic human freedom. However, if the allegations fail to hold water and the officials are simply bitter over the fact that they're losing Hindu practitioners, then it would be best to let those officials wallow in their own bitterness until they get over their own prejudices.
 
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No one should ever be forced to convert to a religion that they do not want to convert to. I'm all for a person choosing to convert to a different religion than they were raised or realizing that another religion is for them, but the state should not force someone to give up their religious beliefs in exchange for a different religion that is completely different than the one they have been worshiping for years. I hate that they believe that they can just take away someones religion like that and not think that they're going to get any backlash from it from other countries.
 
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