Hindu Leaders in Northern India Seek Ways to Prevent Religious Conversions
06/30/2021 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), a group of Hindu organizations in India’s Uttar Pradesh state are seeking ways to prevent religious conversions and ‘reconvert’ non-Hindus to Hinduism. This comes after two Muslim men were arrested and charged under Uttar Pradesh’s new anti-conversion law for allegedly converting 1,000 people to Islam by illegal means.
The Akhil Bharatiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP), the highest body of 13 Hindu religious orders, will soon meet to discuss the issue of religious conversion. Specifically, ABAP President Mahant Narendra Giri said the meeting’s agenda would ask ordinary Hindus to consider steps to “bring back” people who have changed their religion.
“We have always advocated gharwapsi or reconversion,” President Giri said. “Hindu seers and disciples would be given the task of convincing people who have gone to other religions.”
Radical Hindu nationalists and followers of the Hindutva ideology often use false narratives about conversions to non-Hindu religions to enact laws that limit religious freedom. In some cases, nationalists go as far to claim that all conversions to Christianity and Islam in India were done through illegal means and are thus illegitimate.
Recently, Uttar Pradesh enacted an anti-conversion law, championed by the Bharatiya Janata Party, using a false narrative that low-caste Hindus were being forcefully converted to Christianity and Islam in mass by fraudulent means. Since its enactment, the new law has been weaponized by radical Hindu nationalists seeking to harass Uttar Pradesh’s Christian and Muslim population.
While the law regulates most religious conversions, it does make an exception for “reconversions” to a person’s immediate previous religion. This exception allows radical Hindu nationalists to “reconvert” Christians and Muslims to Hinduism without violating the new anti-conversion law. In many cases, threats and intimidation are used by radicals to compel individuals to preform Hindu rituals.
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