11/14/2014, 00.00
INDIA
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India's Hindu Radical go on the offensive, calling for a stop to conversions to Christianity and Islam

by Nirmala Carvalho
On the 50th anniversary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), an extremist leader calls for Christians and Muslims to return to Hinduism. For the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), such statements are "absolutely illegal" and "feed suspicion and mistrust" towards minorities. By contrast, the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Hindus should not convert to Christianity and Islam, and minorities should embrace Hinduism, said officials with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a radical Hindu paramilitary group on the 50th anniversary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), another extremist organisation.

Such statements are "absolutely illegal" because freedom of religion is guaranteed by the Constitution in India, said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) who spoke to AsiaNews.

VHP leaders, activists and supporters met on Tuesday and Wednesday in Tumkur, Karnataka, to mark the anniversary of the founding of the extremist association.

"We need to bring back to Hinduism converts to other religions, like Christianity and Islam," RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat said. "Foreign forces are trying to destroy India's unity through conversions and other activities," he added.

Radical Hindu groups like RSS and VHP, which are part of the broader Sangh Parivar, persecute religious minorities, even violently.

Christianity is often accused of being a "foreign" religion that "buying" converts with cash or charitable activities.

"I appeal to the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to protect the vulnerable Christian community in Karnataka on the basis of existing constitutional guarantees," Sajan George told AsiaNews.

Not only what Hindu radicals do is illegal, "but their statements reflect a clear and deep-seated prejudice against minorities, which can only feed suspicion and mistrust within communities."

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