10/17/2006, 00.00
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Varanasi: Hindu fundamentalists worried about increasing conversions

by Nirmala Carvalho

The secretary-general of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh called on the government to stop the trend, "even using force", and announced that the movement will take its own measures. A Catholic activist counters: "They are not worried about a deteriorating society, they are only bothered about non-existent Christian activities".

Varanasi (AsiaNews) – The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh [RSS, a paramiltary formation of Hindu extremists] has expressed "serious concern" about the "growing number of conversions by Christian missionaries" across the country. Hindu leaders are calling on the central government to "stop these activities, even through the use of force".

Madan Das Devi, RSS secretary-general, said on 15 October in Varanasi – one of the most venerated "temple towns" in the country – that "the activities of Christian missionaries have increased since Congress came into power. Missionaries are luring poor Hindus across the country but the government is not making any effort to stop them."

Devi however conceded that "socio-economic problems of our nation, rooted in Hindu society, are responsible for conversions."

The activist said the entire RSS was gathered in Varanasi and had expressed grave concern about what was going on: "We will resolve the problem, taking adequate measures to stop this trend."

John Dayal, President, a human rights activist and chairman of the All India Catholic Union told AsiaNews : "The RSS claims to be concerned about people's lives, and just their religion, yet it is not bothered about rising poverty in India. It is not bothered about ante-natal selection of children's gender that leads to female infanticide. It is not bothered about sati, the ritual that ordains the death of a widow on her husband's funeral pyre, or the feudalism rampant in some states of the Union."

He added: "Instead it is worried about the non-existent conversion activities of Christian missionaries. It is bothered about people rejecting the caste system and forces them to return to slavery. The RSS is a criminal force without a shadow of doubt, and it is rapidly revealing the fascist theological ideology that characterizes it."

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See also
Hindu extremists slander the Church but send their children to Church-run schools
Archbishop of Colombo tells government to respect religious freedom
Christian groups against approval of Rajasthan anti-conversion bill
Defending religious freedom in India protects all other freedoms
Indian Church: "Hindu extremist charges against US are senseless"


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