Twenty-three Christians converted to Hinduism in Karnataka
Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, condemns the verbal attacks by Hindu nationalists against Christians during the ceremony. For a former BJP lawmaker, “The conversion of the Dalits and tribals to Christianity will be opposed tooth and nail.” Official data show however that claims about conversion activities are false, George explains.
Haliyal Taluk (AsiaNews) – India’s Christian community has condemned the verbal attacks by nationalist leaders during the “reconversion” to Hinduism of 23 Christians, in all five Christian families, in a ceremony held last Sunday in Haliyal Taluk (Karnataka) that was attended by Anant Kumar Hegde, a lawmaker with India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
During the event there was an “outcry against the missionaries,” but this is “just propaganda designed to mobilise people for the Hindutva cause,” said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking to AsiaNews.
The ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (homecoming) ceremony saw former BJP lawmaker, Suneel Hegde, hand over a saffron flag, the official symbol of Hinduism, to the “returnees” as a sign of acceptance and identification as Hindu.
Speaking to the crowd, Hedge said that “The conversion of the Dalits and tribals to Christianity will be opposed tooth and nail. More such people will be brought back to the Hindu fold. I request those who are converting Hindus to desist, [or] else they will face the repercussions.”
Such “political manipulation of religion is strongly condemned by the GCIC,” George said. It can breed “communal disharmony and can even create a law and order situation.”
The GCIC, according to George, is above all concerned with the safety and security of the small Christian communities in places where the ruling class supports the reconverted, a situation that favours the marginalisation of Christians.
Since the 2014 elections, the influence of Hindu nationalism has been felt in every area of the country’s social and political life.
According to George, it is important to stress that Christians make up only 1.87 per cent of Karnataka’s population. Official data highlight “the false propaganda about conversion activities and forced conversion.”