Going ahead with its ‘ghar wapsi’ plans, Hindu outfit Vishwa Hindu Parishad “re-converted” over 200 tribal Christians to Hinduism by holding rituals at Aranai village in Valsad district of Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Gujarat, claimed a local leader.
The right-wing outfit also said the re-conversion was “voluntary” and not by force.
“As part of the ongoing ‘Ghar-Vaapsi’ programme, the VHP re-converted 225 people from Christian community and took them back into Hindu religion,” said Valsad district VHP chief Natu Patel.
He said VHP organised a ‘Maha Yagnya’ (ritual of the sacred fire) for “purification” of the tribals before taking them back in Hindu-fold and also gave each of them a copy of Bhagwad Gita.
Another VHP worker, Ashok Sharma, said around 3,000 people had gathered at the ‘Ghar-Vaapsi’ programme in Valsad, which culminated on Saturday.
“VHP today greeted around 225 people back in their own religion in Valsad. We have not forced them, they came on their own wish,” Sharma said.
The incident came against the backdrop of a raging debate over such programmes being organised by Sangh Parivar groups in various parts of the country.
A controversy had erupted earlier in December when a right wing group had organised a ‘Ghar-wapasi’ drive wherein it reportedly converted about 100 people from a minority community in Agra in Uttar Pradesh.
The incident had created a ruckus in Rajya Sabha with the opposition demanding a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A similar incident was also reported from BJP-ruled Chhattisgarh where a party MP had claimed 39 tribal Christians were re-converted to Hinduism in Naxal-hit Bastar district in October this year.
In its response to the opposition over the conversion issue, the BJP has demanded bringing of anti-conversion law.