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Christians Concerned as Hate Campaign Intensifies in Run-up to Narmada Kumbh

ICC Note

“Our sources tell us there will be a major ghar wapsi or conversion to Hinduism of local Christians. We urge the administration to take timely action and appropriate steps to protect the citizens and particularly the minorities, their places of worship and institutions and religious personnel. The administration would be entirely and wholly responsible in case of any undesirable eventuality.”

By George Anthony
02/05/2011 India (Christian Today India)-Church activists have expressed deep concern at the Sangh Parivar’s anti-Christian campaign in the run-up to a major Hindu event next week.

A fact-finding team recently spent three days in the Mandla-Jabalpur region in Madhya Pradesh where million attendees are expected for the Narmada Samajik Kumbh from February 10-12, 2011.

The team uncovered plans for “ghar wapsi” (homecoming celebration) or conversion of local Christians to Hinduism despite Madhya Pradesh’s Freedom of Religion Act which requires prior notice of such actions. They have solid reasons to fear an outbreak of violence against Christians during or after the event from cadres of the Sangh Parivar.

“We support the freedom of the majority community to hold such a massive religious event. But we fear that even if there is no violence or a forcible conversion of Christians to Hinduism during the Kumbh, the Hindutva campaign will poison the atmosphere in Madhya Pradesh and will negatively impact relationships between Christians and tribals in the hamlets, villages and townships of the region,” said Dr. Dayal, who is the secretary general of the All India Christian Council (aicc).

“The penetration of hard core Hindutva activists in Madhya Pradesh may have a long-term dampening effect on freedom of religion in this region. It may also negatively impact the continuing social work of Christians, including schools and medical centers in under-developed districts,” he added.

The fact-finding team has urged the Madhya Pradesh government to take cognisance of the massive hate campaign that has been unleashed and to monitor the security of the minorities during the Kumbh. Besides prominent Hindu religious leaders as well as activists of the RSS, VHP and other Hindu organisations, Chief Ministers of BJP-ruled states, Mr. Narendra Modi of Gujarat, Mr. Shivraj Singh Chauhan of Madhya Pradesh and Mr. Raman Singh of Chhattisgarh are expected to attend the event.

The church leadership in the state has meanwhile sent urgent representations to the Governor and Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh apprising them of the sinister developments and calling on the state to ensure there is no outbreak of violence.

“Our sources tell us there will be a major ghar wapsi or conversion to Hinduism of local Christians. We urge the administration to take timely action and appropriate steps to protect the citizens and particularly the minorities, their places of worship and institutions and religious personnel. The administration would be entirely and wholly responsible in case of any undesirable eventuality,” a memorandum signed by priests and representatives of the Christian community to the State Governor, with copies to the Chief Minister and the divisional and district authorities said.

The memorandum also listed samples of newspaper clippings and the offensive posters targetting minorities.

Different kumbhs are held on various rivers across India. The “Narmada Samajik Kumbh” is distinguished because it is a very recent event invented by the Sangh Parivar to recruit tribal people in western and central India, specially the Chhotanagpur region which is inhabited by some of the oldest tribes in the world.

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