Saturday, January 03, 2015

VHP reconversions in Punjab a flop show

BATHINDA: Vishwa Hindu Parishad's much-hyped "ghar wapsi" function at Bathinda, aimed at bringing back Christians to the Hindu and Sikh fold, was a non-starter. With no member of the community turning up for the proposed conversions on Friday, the Hindu organisation put off the homecoming ceremony indefinitely.

The 'ghar wapsi' was on Thursday deferred by a day. The Hindu organization had been making efforts for the last many days for re-conversion of nearly 100 families.

"With only two families turning up for 'ghar wapsi', we have decided to defer it for an indefinite period. We are taking up the matter with our senior leadership, including central leader Khem Chand, for a new date," said VHP state secretary Sukhpal Sran. He alleged that the Akali leaders had asked the administration and police to foil conversion attempts due to strained SAD-BJP ties.

Sources said VHP activists made efforts to prevail upon some Christian families from Jangirana, Gobindpura, Raike and Naruana villages and Rampura Phul town, but none of them turned up. VHP also tried to rope in four pastors to convert Christians to Hinduism and Sikhism.

United Christian Welfare Front president George Masih alleged, "They are targeting not only Christians but Muslims also. A couple of Christian families had contacted me saying that they were being asked to convert but they had refused to do so." George said religious bodies must avoid the misadventure of forced conversions, and if someone wanted to embrace another faith, they had no objection to it.

Punjab cabinet minister Sikandar Singh Maluka denied that SAD-BJP ties had come in the way of conversions in Bathinda. He said, "There was no pressure against any family to convert or vice versa."

Bathinda senior superintendent of police Inder Mohan Singh said, "Police had no role in the conversion ceremony. We didn't put pressure on anyone to convert or not."

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