02/05/2019, 11.12
INDIA
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Sajan K George: 98 Christian tribals ‘forced’ to reconvert to Hinduism

by Nirmala Carvalho

The "homecoming" program is sponsored by the VHP, an ultra-nationalist Hindu group affiliated to the government. The Christian leader emphasizes that "the tribals are animists and have never been Hindu, so the attempt to bring them back to the fold is just a political ploy".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The 98 Christian tribes of Tripura that a group of far-right Hindus claimed to have successfully brought back to their religion, that is Hinduism, actually "were forcibly reconverted” reports  Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC).

He tells  AsiaNews the episode was discovered by a local politician who went to the tribal village. According to Jiten Chowdhury, president of Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, tribal wing of the communist-Maoist party Cpi (M), the Hindu group Jagaran Mancha, a member of the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad), "forced the reconversions". Then he added that he had met former faithful Christians who told him that "they were happy before".

The homecoming program to the original religion took place on January 23rd. The politician visited the tribals on 25, while the official accusation by his party was lodged yesterday. Chowdhury claims that "the VHP and the Hindu Jagaran Mancha have seized this opportunity. They threatened [the Christians] who would put them behind bars and force them to reconvert. "

According to Sajan K George, "the reconversions of tribal or indigenous groups known as adivasis, are conducted in an habitual manner by extreme right-wing groups". He then emphasizes that "tribals are animists and have never been Hindu, so the attempt to bring them back to the fold is just a political ploy to create social discord, mistrust and division among the tribals themselves".

Chowdhury reports that "the reconverted people are really sorry for this incident. A sense of psychosis prevails among them. Many villagers burst into tears in front of me ".

Speaking of reconversions, Interior Minister Rajnath Singh recently said he was "very concerned about mass conversions taking place in various countries, including India. We must stop them ".

On the contrary, for Sajan K George, "in view of the general elections, the reconversions are the strategic means to divert attention from the real problems that block the country and at the same time strike minorities with systematic denigration".

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