Monday, April 02, 2007

My religion, your religion!

The RSS is working out on a strategy with the help of its frontal organization to counter conversion drive of the Christian missionaries in the state

S Santosh.

Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) and its frontal organizations like Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad and Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram are working on a well-planned strategy to counter conversion activities of Christian missionaries in Rajasthan.

These organisations also sought the help of the BJP government in their efforts to check missionaries’ activities and the government is expected to help them in every possible manner.

The tribal belt of Rajasthan comprising Udaipur and adjoining districts, which are close to Gujarat, are the main target of missionaries to spread Christianity among tribals. The other area of activity is Kota division, which also has sizable tribal population.

Vanvasi Kalyan Parishad has opened its branches in Udaipur, Dungarpur, Chittorgarh, Rajassmand, Banswara and Pratapgarh. It organized a Rashtra Shakti Sammelan of adivasies at Udaipur in the last week of February. The organisers claimed that over one lakh adivasies had participated in the sammelan. The number of adivasies gathered at Maharana Bhoopal Stadium was far less than the claim but it was an impressive show of strength by the Parisahad.

RSS chief K S Sudarshan, a dozen of sadhus and saffron leaders addressed the gathering. The focus of the sammelan was to send a message to the adivasies that they are part of Hinduism.

Sudarshan held a meeting with some mahantas of the area a day before the sammelan at Sanwaliaji temple near Chittorgarh. A resolution was passed in the meeting that non-Hindu should not be allowed to enter the temple.

The government has started Golwalkar Welfare Scheme for the benefit of adivasies in view of the birth centenary celebration of the former RSS chief M S Golwalkar.

State Vanvasi Kalyan Ashram chief Laxaminarayan Chatak announced to contact 70,000 people during Ramanvami and Hanuman Jayayti to collect funds for the constructions of hostels, opening of schools, Sanskar Kendras and to carry out activities for the welfare of adivasies. He said that the total tribal population of the state is around 85 Lakhs and as per the Christian missionaries' plans they would convert around ten percent of the tribals into the Christianity in the next couple of years.

About a year ago, Emmanual Mission International (EMI), which used to run about five-dozen schools, orphanage and such other institutions in and around Kota, was banned by the government after it’s head M A Thomas and other people were allegedly found engaged in conversion activities. The institutions run by the organization have been taken over by the government.

Rajasthan minister for cooperative Madan Dilawar launched a campaign against the EMI and virtually forced the district administration and the police to register cases against Thomas and others.

Thomas challenged the government order in the Rajasthan high court, but the single judge bench of the court rejected his plea saying that the government decision was very much in order. But the government lost the case, when it went to the two-judge bench.

Around this time, the Vasundhara Raje government passed an Anti Conversion Act in the assembly. But when it was sent to governor Pratibha Patil for her ascent, she declined to approve it. She sent it back to the government saying that this king of act could be made only by the central government.

She said that if government is not satisfied with her decision it could directly sent the bill to the President and since than the matter is lying with her. The government has taken the stand that similar kinds of bills were passed by MP, Orissa and some other states and were approved by the governor of those states.

The police had registered a case against Thomas before taking over institutions run by the EMI for publication and distribution of a book Hakeequat, which allegedly carries derogatory remarks against Hindu gods. The government banned the book immediately. The police issued arrest warrant against Thomas. The case is still before the court and the Supreme Court recently gave a directive to the state government not to arrest Thomas till any further order.