Tuesday, March 07, 2006

BJP chief slams missionaries for conversions

March 06, 2006 20:54 IST

Raising Hindutva concerns ahead of the assembly polls, Bharatiya Janata Party President Rajnath Singh on Monday charged Christian missionaries with indulging in conversions and demanded a blanket ban on them.

Terming religious conversions as the "greatest threat" facing Scheduled Tribes, apart from uenmployment, poverty and illiteracy, he said, "Have you ever seen the rich converting? It is only the poor who do it. The tribals are a simple and emotional people who would be grateful for even a little service and convert.

"The activities of the Christian missionaries is a major challenge as conversions change not only the country's demographic profile but also its unique identity." "Collective conversions are a cruel joke on the poverty of the poor. The missionaries are taking undue advantage of their financial weakness. There should be a blanket ban of conversions," Singh told the valedictory function of the party's Scheduled Tribe Morcha Executive meeting in New Delhi.

He, however, said conversions in "special situations" could be considered. He did not explain such "situations."

The BJP chief said while the party did not believe in discrimination on the grounds of caste, creed, religion and language, "we will not indulge in appeasement to expand the party's base.

We will pursue the path of justice." Expressing serious concern over the policy of "minorityism" being pursued by the United Progressive Alliance government, he likened the Muslim headcount with the separate electoral constituencies for Muslims proposed by the 1916 Lucknow All India Congress Committee session "…which led to the country's partition".