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ICC Note:

Former high-ranking government official reveals the extent to which anti-Christian sentiment has spread throughout India .

Christian Today India (04/21/06) – Former Deputy Prime Minister Lal Krishna Advani launched another violent verbal attack against Christian religious ministry claiming, “Organized foreign-funded conversion campaign by evangelical groups is a threat to national integration and Hindu society.”

“We strongly condemn the campaign of Christian proselytization, which poses a ‘grave threat’ to Hindu society. We demand stern action against those who indulge in such activities” the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) politician claimed.

“It is bad enough that religious conversions are conducted in a systematic manner through inducements and coercions,” he said. He further claimed that such activities are more ominous when they are facilitated by foreign funded organizations, ostensibly under the garb of social service for poor and under-privileged families.

Opposing strongly against the activities of Christian ministries, he said, “We will raise our voice strongly in favor of a national as well as state-level legislation prohibiting religious conversions through inducements or coercion.”

Whereas, Fr Babu Joseph, spokesman of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India said, “By harping on a non-issue like religious conversion in India , Mr. Advani has been conveniently side-stepping the real social and national issues glaring at our eyes”.

“The problem of poverty, unemployment, lack of education institutions and communal tensions, to mention a few, are actually posing a serious threat to our national unity and security.” Father Babu noted. “Mr. Advani would have been doing a far greater service to this country if he had spoken about the need to bring communal harmony, ensure better employment opportunities and distribution of land to the landless laborers, and so on.”

“If a few Christians are doing what they can to mitigate the misery of their fellow countrymen, it is actually not to be derided but admired. If Advani and his ilk can do at least a small portion of what some of the Christian organizations are doing for those on the margins of Indian society, our country would have been far better,” emphasized Fr Babu Joseph.

AsiaNews quoted All Indian Catholic Union Chairman John Dayal as saying, “When he was Union home minister, Mr. Advani made similar allegations. I challenged him to produce a evidence and as expected he failed to do so.”

“I challenge him once again (to present evidence) about forcible conversion. In Rajasthan for instance, the total population is well over 60 million, and the Christian population is just about 86,000. This is one tenth of one percent,” he added.

“I am not sure how much control Advani has on the murderous youth of the Bajrang Dal [a Hindu extremist group involved in violent acts in the past] for instance. And now they have guns too in addition of swords and trishuls (tridents). I hope the government of India is monitoring the situation,” Dayal explained.