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(February 23, 2006) – The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) has received additional information on the recent Hindu festival (Shabari Kumbh) in the state of Gujarat . Hosted by the radical Hindu group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Corps or RSS), the festival included a massive anti-conversion poster campaign, in addition to other festival activities, at Dangs in India’s western state of Gujarat from February 11 to 13.

The festival, organized in the remote, tribal-dominant district, was an attempt to “reconvert” tribal Christians to Hinduism by making them aware of the “Christian conspiracy of conversions.” Although no direct attempt of re-conversion was reported during the festival, the RSS left no stone unturned in preparing the ground for re-conversions in the future.

The RSS displayed at least two dozen anti-conversion posters in an exhibition titled ‘The New Vision for India .’ The posters were made by the neighboring state chapter of an affiliate of the RSS, and were sponsored by a donor situated in Mumbai, the state capital.

The posters mainly carried excerpts of newsletters of Christian missions in India and abroad, especially the West. To change the context of the extracts, headings were given on the top of the posters and statements of warning at the bottom.

A board installed at the gate of the exhibition area said, “Conversions must be stopped.”

Accused of Sponsoring Terrorist Groups in Northeast India

There was a series of five posters linking the Church with terrorist and separatist groups in northeast India .

Titled, “Church-sponsored terrorist groups in Northeast India ,” this poster carried a list of 17 terrorist organizations that allegedly had close links with the church.

The statement in the footer of the poster read, “Terrorism is the true face of Christianity.”

Another poster, titled, “Black shadow of the Cross on the Northeast,” stated that one of the insurgent groups in Northeast India, which has offices in New York and Geneva , had “Nagaland for Christ” written on its letterhead. “The Church funds this organization and China supplies the arms,” it claimed.

It also said that the separatist group National Liberation Front of Tripura, which has close links with the Pakistan’s ISI and Bangladesh’s Directorate General of Field Intelligence, had declared that it would make Tripura a Christian state.

The footer of this poster also read, “Terrorism is the true face of Christianity.”

Accusation of Conversion in the Garb of Social Service

In another series of seven posters, all titled, “Anything for conversions,” Christian missionaries were accused of converting Hindus using the guise of social service.

One poster stated, “A ‘miracle box’ is kept in many churches in the northeast. People are asked to put in slips carrying their prayer requests, be it freedom from debt or money for house, education, and daily expenses. After a few weeks, a ‘miracle’ takes place. The people get what they had asked for and they convert to Christianity.”

“People are asked to pray in the name of their gods while they are given colorful water, and not medicine, to drink. After a while, real medicine is given and, this time, the prayer is done in the name of Christ. When a person is healed thinking Christ has healed him, he converts to Christianity.”

The line in the footer read, “Christianity is based on superstitions.”

Another poster claimed that Christians’ involvement in education was meant for conversions. “In 1884, Lord Mochalo used money power to bring down traditional schools and started new schools where the Sanskrit language was taught. On October 12, 1836, he wrote a letter to his father saying, ‘If the education continues at this pace, not even a single Hindu will remain in Bengal ; all will convert to Christianity. Those who do remain Hindus will be Hindus merely for name’s sake. They will no longer believe in Hindu scriptures. Thus we will achieve our objective without interfering in Hinduism and without violating their freedom of religion,” it said.

The bottom line stated, “Education in a missionary school is dangerous.”

Likewise, one poster sought to associate Christians’ involvement in health services as an attempt to convert Hindus. It quoted members of one International Christian Hospitals as saying, “The number of people coming to hospitals is more than the number of people going to churches. Therefore, hospitals can be used for evangelization.” It also quoted a publication (February 21 to 27, 1983) of the Christian Medical College , Vellore , Tamil Nadu, as saying, “People are more interested in issues related to life, death and salvation in hospitals. While Christians cannot preach in many villages of India , doors for evangelism open when you take health services with you.”

The footer declared, “Christian compassion, heights of hypocrisy.”

Views of Great Men of India on Conversion and Re-conversion

Further, three posters on display quoted three great men of India stating their view on Christian conversion and re-conversion of converts to Hinduism.

One poster carrying quotes of Hindu philosopher, Swami Vivekananda, said, “Even if the whole nation gets together to throw away the dirt into Western nations, they would only reduce it by little given the amount of dirt thrown into the ocean of Hindus . You (Westerners) talk big, but show us just one place where you have brought Christianity without using sword. I know some of our ancestors were converted to Christianity, but they did it because they would have to face the sword otherwise. You talk a lot about peace, but still behave like Muslims.”

“On being asked by a journalist in April 1899 if converts should be reconverted, Vivekananda replied, ‘Definitely, otherwise our population will continue to decrease. When a Hindu converts to Christianity, it does not merely reduce the population by one, but it also increases the army of the enemy by one. Those who have converted to Christianity or Islam have done so fearing the sword. We have reconverted numerous converts, and we need to do that even today.’”

The line at the end of the poster said, “Christian conversion is a hidden war against Hinduism.”

Yet another poster quoted Mahatma Gandhi as saying, “If I had the right to legislate, I would abolish conversions. I would welcome only those foreigners who come for social service. It is true that because of missionaries, the culture and lifestyle of Hindu families change.”

The statement in the footer read, “Conversion is the second name of violence.”

Influx of Foreign Money

Another poster, titled, “Flood of Foreign Money”, carried a list of foreign agencies that sent money to India during 1997-98 and the amount they sent. The list included the Christian Children Fund, USA : 647.8 million; the Evangelische Zentralstelle (EZE), Germany : 590 million; the Faster Parents Plan International, the USA : 554.5 million; the International Catholic Missionary Work, USA : 486 million; and so on.

The poster stated, “There are three armies of colonialism, namely, ground, water, and air, and fourth one is the Church.”

No Forgiveness

One poster titled, “Time has changed, not thinking,” delivered an ominous warning to Christian missionaries, saying, “The mistake of forgiving the offender 17 times will not be repeated.”

ICC has photos and descriptions of the posters upon request.