Hindu militant demands closure of all Christian prayer centers for "forced conversions"
by Nirmala Carvalho

The secretary of the ultranationalist group Vishwa Hindu Parishad wants above all the closure of the "Divine Call Center" of Mulki. The militant accuses all Christian missionaries of converting poor children through deception. President of the Global Council of Indian Christians: "They want to divert attention from real problems".

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - An ultra-nationalist Hindu radical from Karnataka is calling for the closure of all Christian prayer centers because they would carry out "forced conversions" of Hindu believers to Christianity.

He argues that conversions would be part of a "systematic conspiracy", so he invokes the help of all Hindus, to bring converts back to nationalist organizations.

He concludes with the demand for an investigation and "control of all religious centers" in the State.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews: "We strongly condemn the allegations of forced conversion".

The radical is called Sharan Pumpwell and is the local secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a far-right Hindu group linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. Yesterday he organized a press conference at the Kidiyoor Hotel in Udupi during which he asked for the closure of the "Divine Call Center", a Catholic prayer center located in Mulki.

According to the radical, two missionaries from the center converted Pradeep Kotian, a young Hindu taxi driver, through deception. He accuses the two Catholics of torturing the young man and of filming the incident threatening to post the video on social media if he had not denied his faith.

Pumpwell declares: "We know that in that center forced conversions of Hindus to Christianity are carried out and the Hindu religion is insulted".

Then, referring more generally to Christian schools, he added: "Many families are victims of conversion. There are examples of brainwashed students. The missionaries promise to support poor children by giving them money and helping them study. But then they force them to change their religion. The poor are their main target, they are seduced by education and hostels”. For this, he promises, "we will put pressure on the central government led by Narendra Modi to implement an anti-conversion law".

Sajan K George points out that the Divine Call Center of Mulki “is a place of prayer, people come according to their will, to seek peace and consolation in their lives. No one is coerced, no one is forced to participate in prayer. Conversion charges are fabricated. Thousands of people attended this center experiencing renewal, healing and new life. There has never been any coercion or forced conversion ".

According to the Christian leader, "the question of conversions is fished out by some extremists just to gain media attention. At the moment Karnataka is under a terrible flood, the economy is weak, the difficulties and unemployment are increasing among the farmers. This is just another attempt to divert attention from real problems. The government's census shows that the Christian population has already dropped. These far-right rogues act for personal and political purposes and try to arouse sectarian tensions with accusations of forced conversions ".