Hindu Nationalist Leader in India Tweets Support for Mass ‘Re-Conversions’ to Hinduism
06/24/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – Using extremely anti-minority rhetoric, a Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) leader in India on Wednesday tweeted his support for mass ‘re-conversion’ programs pushing Indian Christians and Muslims to convert to Hinduism.
“The whole world knows that most of the ancestors of India’s Christians and Muslims are Hindus,” Surendra Jain, the VHP’s Joint General-Secretary, said in a tweeted video message. “A few Muslim rulers and Christian missionaries forcibly converted Hindu people. But now all of them should convert back.”
Jain made this statement after two Muslim men were arrested and accused of forcefully converting at least 1,000 non-Muslim girls to Islam by marrying them to Muslim men. The arrests took place in Uttar Pradesh, a state that enacted an anti-conversion law in 2020.
Hindu nationalists often use false narratives to cast doubt on India’s religious minorities and justify policies that curtail religious freedom, such as anti-conversion laws. In this case, Jain’s statement assumes that all conversions to non-Hindu faiths in India were done by force and are thus illegitimate.
The VHP leader went on to praise the ‘re-conversion’ ceremonies led by Hindu nationalist groups. However, in these ceremonies Indian Christians and Muslim are often intimidated into ‘re-converting’ to Hinduism.
In the case of forced conversions to Christianity, Hindu nationalists accuse Christians of using aid, money, and other items of value to induce non-Christians into converting to Christianity. In recent years, this narrative has cast suspicion on all charitable work led by Christians and has even led to the expulsion of international non-profits such.
Due to growing religious intolerance and the normalization of religiously motivated violence, many radical Hindu nationalists view all religious conversions to non-Hindu faiths as fraudulent. In an increasing number of cases, radical Hindu nationalists equate all non-Hindu religious activity with forced or fraudulent conversions. This assumption of guilt has been the catalyst for many violent attacks on Christians simply exercising their religious freedom rights.
Currently, anti-conversion laws have been enacted in Uttar Pradesh, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, and Uttarakhand. State governments led by the Bharatiya Janata Party in Haryana, Assam, and Karnataka have all publicly called for anti-conversion laws to be enacted, explicitly citing the conspiracy of fraudulent mass conversions to Christianity and Islam as a justification.
India’s population data, however, does not support the conspiracy of mass conversions to Christianity and Islam used to justify anti-conversion laws. This is especially true regarding Christians. In 1951, the first census after independence, Christians made up 2.3% of India’s population. According to the 2011 census, the most recent census data available, Christians still make up 2.3% of the population.
To date, no individual has ever been convicted of the crime of forced conversion. This is notable as some anti-conversion laws have been in force since the late 1960s.
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