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Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Vaishnavite monastery body accuses Church of conversions in Majuli

Samudra Gupta Kashyap
Posted online: Wednesday, April 02, 2008 at 2337 hrs

Guwahati, April 1 : Assam Satra Mahasabha, the apex body of Vaishnavite Satras (monasteries) in the state, has accused Christian missionaries of launching a massive conversion campaign in the river island of Majuli. It has drawn up a programme to thwart such attempts. Stating this, Assam Satra Mahasabha president Bhadrakrishna Goswami said Majuli, which is on the verge of extinction due to massive erosion caused by the Brahmaputra, is facing a “dangerous threat” of large-scale conversion of Hindus by Christian missionaries.

“Majuli is the epicentre of Vaishnavite culture and tradition. The Christian missionaries have recently converted a number of Mishing tribals by luring them with money in gross violation of established norms,” alleged Goswami, who is also a member of the Kendriya Marg Darshan of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. He said a delegation of the Mahasabha would soon visit Majuli and make an assessment of the situation arising as a result of conversions.

Satradhikars of several ancient Vaishnavite Satras have expressed concern over the recent spate of conversions. “Majuli is the heart of Vaishnavite religion. Hurting Majuli is like hurting the very heart of Assamese culture,” said Pitambar Deva Goswami, Satradhikar of Auniati Satra and a leading Vaishnavite scholar. The Uttar Kamalabari Satra has launched a series of public meetings in the areas where the Christian missionaries have allegedly carried out conversions in the recent months .

The Catholic Church, on the other hand, has denied that it has been carrying out conversions in Majuli or elsewhere in Assam. “We have established a school and healthcare services in Majuli. But there is no intention on our part to convert anyone under any circumstances,” an official of the church said.

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