Monday, November 07, 2005

Diwali gift to minister creates controversy

Statesman News Service

Jaipur, Nov. 4. - Gifts, specially during festivals like Diwali, are used for creating goodwill, even among bitter rivals. But it seems gifts don't work always.

A charitable Christian organistion which has constantly been accused of indulging in forceful conversions by Sangh Parivar outfits, is in the middle of a controversy for sending Diwali gifts to Rajasthan's social welfare minister, Mr Madan Dilawar, a politician closely associated with several Sangh Parivar outfits in Rajasthan.

As the minister had accused the Kota-based Emmanuel Mission Society of abetting such acts of conversions in the past, Mr Dilawar has alleged that the organisation tried to buy him out by sending expensive gifts on the occasion of this year’s Diwali. He did not accept the gift.

The Emmaneal Mission Society, however, denied the charge saying that being a charitable organisation it did not have the resources to fund expensive gifts for political leaders. It further claimed to have sent a gift pack containing dry fruits and sweets only to the minister, as is the routine during festivals like Diwali.

But the minister said the mission never sent him a gift before this and this time it had sent him jewellery and money as gifts.

Mr Dilawar also alleged that the mission was trying to buy off politicians and those who oppose religious conversions, through such expensive gifts. The minister has threatened to take the matter to the state's chief minister and demand a probe to know whether the society paid gifts to others leaders in Kota as well.

The Emmaneul Mission Society had last faced the wrath of Sangh Parivar activists last week only, for holding a three-day convention in the city. Sangh Parivar outfits had alleged that the programme was being organised for religious conversions of poor Hindus.