India’s Home Minister Calls for National Debate on Mass Conversions
01/21/2019 India (International Christian Concern) – On January 15, India’s Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, called for a national debate on mass religious conversions. Christian leaders across India spoke out against the minister’s statement and claimed the call for debate was only political talk to collect votes from India’s Hindu nationalists and scapegoat the Christian minority.
Speaking at an event organized by Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh, a national forum of Christians, Minister Singh said, “If somebody wants to accept a religion, he should do that. There should not be any objection to it. But if mass conversion starts happening and a lot of people start changing their religion, then it could be a matter of concern for any nation.” The Home Minister then went on to explain that a majority of Indians want an anti-conversion law so that mass religious conversions don’t take place.
Unfortunately, the statement made by the Home Minister reinforces a false narrative that accuses Indian Christians of converting poor Hindus in mass. This false narrative is often used by Hindu radicals in India to justify attacks on Christian leaders.
Census data in India shows that the Christian community remains a micro-minority (2.3%). In many regions, Christianity is on the decline due to intense persecution. The idea that Christians are converting poor Hindus in mass and need to be stopped by government restriction is just not supported by any data.
Reacting to the Home Ministers statements, Christian leaders expressed concern and complained that Ghar Wapsi programs, movements where Christians are ‘reconverted’ to Hinduism in mass, were not mentioned. On Sunday, January 20, a Ghar Wapsi program was covered by local media in India’s Tripura state. There, Hindu nationalists ‘reconverted’ 96 people from Christianity to Hinduism.
If the national debate is to be about mass religious conversions generally, why are mass conversions to Hinduism not scrutinized the same as conversion to Christianity?
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