Andhra Pradesh, nationalists push Christians to mass conversion to Hinduism
The "Ghar wapsi" campaign was carried out by the local cell of the Hindu nationalist party in government. About 500 Christians convinced to take an oath to the Hindu religion and to promise not to go to church anymore.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - In Andhra Pradesh a group of Hindu nationalists belonging to the BJP ruling party (Bharatiya Janata Party) has carried out mass conversions to Dalit and Christian tribal Hinduism, accusing the missionaries of practicing conversions for "personal interests".
Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reports that the practice, known in India with the term "Ghar wapsi" ["return home", therefore to the presumed Hindu origins of the population - ed], was carried out on October 20th.
Speaking to AsiaNews the Christian leader condemns the habit of "harassing Dalit and tribal Christians with" Ghar wapsi "campaigns, with the aim of spreading psychosis among the innocent poor and the disadvantaged classes".
The reconversion program took place in the temple of Sri Veerabhadra Swamy in Srisailam. Here the members of the BJP state cell have convinced Christians to pronounce sacred formulas to the Hindu gods, such as the "Maha Mrityunjaya Homam" [oath to the god Shiva, ed.], And to offer gifts to the gods, such as the "Punaragamana pavithra maha yagnam "[A type of puja, a typical votive ritual]. "They forced them - protests Sajan K George - to swear allegiance to the Hindu religion".
Following the advice of the nationalists, about 500 Christians from the local Dalit colony have promised not to go to church. According to Darsanapu Srinivas, a radical who led the reconversion program, Christianity is a "foreign religion" practiced by "missionaries who attract Dalit and tribal through deceit". "We must not allow - he added - that our rich culture, heritage and religious practices are invaded by foreign religions for temporary gains".
Sajan K George comments: "I am indignant. The real intention is to terrorize dalits, adivasis and other disadvantaged classes for political purposes. Groups that were once considered "untouchables" and oppressed are now forced to participate in these programs. The tribals have never been Hindus, so it is a great injustice to force them into rituals of conversion. For Dalits then, it's a return to untouchability ".
The Christian leader underlines that "India is a secular and democratic country, where conversions to Christianity always take place by free choice and are not valid if induced or provoked by force. The priority must be the socio-economic development of all classes. Those in power must urgently resolve the issue of the poor, reviving the oppressed from their humiliating poverty ”.