VHP leader calls for decapitation of those who convert Hindus to Christianity
Praveen Togadia, secretary general of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has called for a new constitution. “Such attempts fuel social tensions for the sake of political and economic power,” says Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Praveen Togadia, secretary general of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu extremist group, has called for the death penalty by decapitation for anyone who tries to convert Hindus to other religions. He made the demand when he addressed the Akhil Bharatiya Dharmaprasar Karykarta Sammelan, a three-day event in Ahmadabad, in which he also called for changes to the Indian constitution.
“What Togadia has said is nothing new,” said Fr Cedric Prakash, a Jesuit and director of Prashant, the Ahmadabad-based Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace. “His words are against the spirit and the freedom enshrined in the Constitution of India, which guarantees every citizen the right to preach, practise and propagate his/her religion and for that matter choose his/her religion”.
Togadia’s “hate propaganda has so often resulted in considerable violence against India’s Muslim, Christian, and Dalit minorities,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC)
“Violence and other abuses against marginalised groups in India are part of a concerted campaign of these Hinduvta organizations—whose leadership is dominated by upper-caste Hindus—to promote and exploit communal tensions in order to retain political and economic power,” he explained.
Togadia “has long been in favour of discriminatory measures against other religions. He has long been advocating anti-conversion legislation in all states to curb conversion from Hinduism to Christianity,” George said.
Togadia, George added, has began to distribute systematically ‘Trishuls’, warning brochures that, using clever rhetoric, tell Hindus to ‘beware’ of the imminent danger and get ready for violence. For the GCIC president, trishuls are “a brazen attempt to militarise society under the garb of a religious programme.”
Recently, “Togadia opposed the ‘Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence’, a bill drafted by the National Advisory Council (NAC) chaired by Sonia Gandhi, which, if enacted, would, in Togadia’s words, ‘oppress’ Hindus, and reduce them to second class citizens by making them into a criminal tribe”, Sajan K George explained. (NC)