Hindu radicals raise funds to pay for "re-conversions" to Hinduism
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - This is "a gross violation of religious freedom and a terrible attack against the secular foundations of the Constitution of India," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), as he spoke to AsiaNews about a fundraising organised by a radical Hindu Association meant to fund the "re-conversion" of thousands of Muslims and Christians next Christmas.
Recently, the Dharam Jagram Samiti (Religious Awakening Committee or DJS), which is part of the Hindu paramilitary group Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (National Volunteer Organisation or RSS), began handing out leaflets in Aligarh (Uttar Pradesh), asking for donations.
According to the leaflet, converting a Christian costs 200,000 rupees (US$ 3,200), a Muslim 500,000 (US$ 8,000). The Great Ghar Vapsi, or homecoming planned for 4,000 Christian families and 1,000 Muslim families should take place on 25 December.
According to Hindu nationalist, the two minority communities are a samasya, a "problem" for the country. Asked why Muslims and Christians are a samasya, all Kansinath Bansal - a prominent DJS member - could only say was that "Because Christianity is a samasya. Muslim (sic) is also a samasya. One worker needs that much money to work on a samasya every year."
Speaking about the upcoming Christmas re-conversions, Sajan George told AsiaNews that "Hindu nationalist forces have targeted the poorest and most marginalised groups in of society".
"These people are already treated contemptuously by the majority community, suffering systemic discrimination by the authorities. In most cases, they are also victims of attacks during worship and prayer, both private and public."
For several months, the RSS has led several Ghar Vapsi ceremonies to bring people to reconvert (or "come home") to Hinduism. The last one, in Agra, involved about 300 Muslims, all very poor migrants of Bangladeshi origin.
Many "converts" later said that they had no clue as to what was happening to them, but they went through with it because they got food and financial aid.