India: Church Leaders Deny ‘Reconversion’ Claim By Hindu Groups


By Bijay Kumar Minj

(UCA News) — Church leaders have refuted a claim by unidentified Hindu groups that some 120 tribal Christians have been “reconverted” to Hinduism in a central Indian state under a nationwide campaign targeting indigenous people and Dalits or former untouchables.

“There was a nine-day program in our locality where Hindu spiritual leaders conducted talks and rituals. Several tribal people attended it. But the claim by Hindu groups that tribal Christians were reconverted is not correct,” Father Akhilesh Ekka from Ambikapur diocese from Chhattisgarh told UCA News on May 20.

The priest who belongs to a tribal community said tribal people worship nature. “They are neither followers of Hinduism nor Christianity,” he added.

Father William Urrey, vicar general of Ambikapur diocese, told UCA News that “the [reconversion] claim is an exaggeration.”

“They have no proof to show,” the priest said.

The news of the reconversion was published by Organiser, which is considered the mouthpiece of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), the parent organization of India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and other pro-Hindu outfits.

The publication claimed that around 120 tribal Christians from 50 families reconverted in Chando village in Chhattisgarh’s Balrampur district on May 17.

The report, published on May 19, did not identify the Hindu groups that claimed the reconversion ceremony was organized on the last day of the Vanvasi Ram Katha (Spiritual talk on Lord Rama).

BJP leader Prabal Pratap Judev washed the feet of the tribal Christians with water from the Ganges, a sacred river for Hindus.

Chhattisgarh is ruled by a BJP government and has in place a sweeping anti-conversion law that disallows change of religion without informing government authorities.

However, in its report, the Organiser claimed that “large-scale reconversions have taken place in Chhattisgarh” under the Ghar Wapsi (homecoming) campaign.

The nationwide drive, started three decades ago by the RSS, aims to convert tribal and Dalit Christians to the Hindu fold, claiming Hinduism is the original religion of all Indians.

UCA News

The Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News, UCAN) is the leading independent Catholic news source in Asia. A network of journalists and editors that spans East, South and Southeast Asia, UCA News has for four decades aimed to provide the most accurate and up-to-date news, feature, commentary and analysis, and multimedia content on social, political and religious developments that relate or are of interest to the Catholic Church in Asia.

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