As two lakh people thronged the Pampa Sarovar at Shabri Kumbh in Dangs on Saturday, the motive behind the mela was clear — another reconversion drive.
Slipping back to his aggressive Hindutva mould, chief minister Narendra Modi joined religious leaders in exhorting 'converted tribals' to adopt their 'own religion.' Without mincing words, Modi, Morari Bapu and Asaram Bapu said that conversion would not be tolerated.
"Conversion of tribals by offering them medical services and providing food will not be tolerated and its time now to return home," was the common refrain.
The dais was cramped with Dangi tribal 'sadhus' and Bhil leaders posturing in front of a garish poster of Ram killing Ravana. Spewing sarcasm at the Congress and NGOs, Modi "thanked certain people" for making the event successful.
"First of all, I would like to thank Congress leader Arjun Singh who discussed the Shabri Kumbh with Sonia Gandhi and abused its organisers for almost half-an-hour.
I also would like to thank those 'jhola chhap' people for raking up the issue and bringing it to the notice of the rest of the world.
And finally I would like to thank the media which for a change has given positive reports on the event." "Whatever we have said and done in Kumbh was purely according to the Indian Constitution which clearly mentions that conversion by means of force or temptation is against the law.
Whatever is happening in Dangs is not good for the tribals and every effort to take them away from Ram will fail in the end." Morari Bapu, who mooted the idea of the Shabri Kumbh, began by quoting the Bible.
He said, "The Bible says that conversion by means of allurement is a sin and a person doing this and the person who gets converted would go to hell. I wish Christians follow the Bible".
Claiming that missionaries are luring people by offering medical services and food, Morari Bapu said, "A sick tribal goes to a doctor (missionary), they treat them and ask them to convert.
Now the tribals have realised that it is not good to be in the hospital for long and they want to return home to Hinduism."
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