According to reports, 39 Christians from low caste backgrounds were ‘converted’ to Hinduism by Hindu nationalists in India’s Kerala state this weekend. Christians from low caste backgrounds present ‘soft targets’ for Hindu nationalists seeking to allure people of other faiths to Hinduism because of discriminatory government benefits programs. In most cases, people from low caste backgrounds are afforded government stipends and advantages, but these stipends and advantages are denied to low caste people who are registered as Christians or Muslims in India. In many cases, the allurement of these government stipends and advantages are enough to convince people to convert to Hinduism.
7/20/2015 India (Times of India) – The Viswha Hindu Parishad (VHP) on Sunday ‘converted’ 39 people from 11 dalit Christian families to Hinduism as part of its controversial ghar wapsi program in Kerala’s Alappuzha district on Sunday.
The ceremony was held from 6 am to 10 am at Nallaveetil Bhadrakali temple near Cheriyanadu in the district.
Several VHP and Arya Samaj leaders were in attendance. Ganapathi homam and shudhi homam were done for the ‘purification’ of the converts and they were also told to recite Gayathri Manthra as the final step of the ritual.
“We are moving ahead with our initiative and more families from other religions will be reconverted to Hinduism soon. We are being approached by many people who want to come back to their original faith,” said VHP Alappuzha district Chief Prathap G Padickal, the main organizer of the event.
The district has been the nerve center of such activities with the first ghar wapsi in Kerala held near Haripad on December 21 last year where 30 dalit Christians officially embraced Hinduism. Dalit Christians, most of whom belong to Pentecostal and other non-Catholic and non-Syrian Christian denominations, are denied reservations that Hindu dalit communities avail of, and are hence a soft target for the VHP.
After a spate of conversion programs by VHP in various places in the state, the UDF government created a Rs 5 crore corpus to set up a commission to find ways to integrate ‘converted Christians’ into the social mainstream.