Monday, April 10, 2006

On conversion, Rajnath takes on missionaries

Pradeep Kaushal

Posted online: Monday, April 10, 2006 at 0000 hrs IST

BJP president Rajnath Singh dared Christian missionaries to "try converting any Hindu" and vowed to turn tables on them today.

The BJP president, who had been speaking at a string of public meetings on his way to Jashpur Nagar from Raigad in course of his Bharat Suraksha Yatra, turned unusually aggressive after entering the domain of Dalip Singh Judeo, who spearheads the Sangh Parivar’s "Ghar Vapsi" (reconversion) programme among Adivasis.

Be it Dharamjaigarh, Pathalgaon, Kasabel, Kunkuri or Jashpur, Singh had a single theme: Those who are converting Hindus, take heed. There is no mercy for you.

Warming to his subject, Singh said Christian missionaries tried to convert people in the name of service. But "there cannot be a more cruel joke than the use of money or service to convert the poor."

Referring to Rajasthan government’s fresh law cracking down on conversions, he pointed out, "as soon as I became the BJP president, I told all my party chief ministers to enact laws to check conversion and foil the designs of Christian missionaries". The Jharkhand government is ready with a draft bill, he said, and called upon Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Raman Singh, who was on stage with him, to follow suit.

Even Madhya Pradesh, which already has a law on the issue, needs a more stringent legislation, he told The Indian Express later.

Conversions comprise the biggest danger to society, he told his audience, and "we cannot allow the demographic profile of the country to be changed. We will not let Hindus be converted into a minority, as somebody has said they would be by 2060. As long as the BJP is on the political scene, it would fight such attempts tooth and nail".

Singh had a word of praise for Judeo too, who accompanied him on his 'rath'.

"I appreciate Judeoji from the core of my heart for carrying on the ghar vapsi programme. It is something unparalleled - a scion of a royal family washing the feet of people upon their return to the Hindu fold."

Rajnath's choice of Jashpur to take on Christian missionaries has a strategic significance.

The area has the biggest church in Chhattsigarh - at Kunkuri - and has a sizeable Christian population. Not surprisingly, the Parivar has boosted its activity here. The countryside is dotted by Saraswati Shishu Mandirs, meant to counter missionary schools. VHP general secretary Praveen Togadia conducted a "trishool diksha" programme at Kasabel last week.

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