Hindu dharma is implicitly at odds with monotheistic intolerance. What is happening in India is a new historical awakening... Indian intellectuals, who want to be secure in their liberal beliefs, may not understand what is going on. But every other Indian knows precisely what is happening: deep down he knows that a larger response is emerging even if at times this response appears in his eyes to be threatening.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

RSS seeks Central law to ban religious conversion


The RSS today accused the BJD-BJP Government in Orissa of working under "pressure" from missionary elements and the Centre to protect real "killers" of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati and demanded a Central law to ban religious conversion.

"Failure of the state government becomes more pronounced in its inability to arrest the murderers of swamiji. The state government, under the influence of missionary elements and Central Government, is trying to protect real perpetrators by bringing in the maoist angle," RSS Joint General Secretary Madan Das told reporters here.

Charging the state government and Centre with playing a "partisan and dubious" role in handling the situation after Saraswati's killing, he alleged that "under pressure from pseudo-secularists and Christian lobbyists, they unleashed a reign of terror and indulged in indiscriminate arrests of innocent people, slapping false case against them."

Demanding immediate arrest of culprits and conspirators behind Swami's killing, Das said, "repressive measures employed by police should be stopped and those arrested on flimsy and false charges must be released forthwith."

Terming illegal conversion as the root cause of unrest in Kandhamal, he said the violence that followed Saraswati's killing was due to "missionary-infused" socio-economic rivalry between 'Kandh' tribals and converted 'Panas'.

A Central legislation should be enacted to ban religious conversion, while right to land ownership of Kandh tribe must be protected by appropriate legislative and executive measures, the RSS leader said.

Das said harmonious relations between these communities in Kandhamal were disturbed with the advent of missionaries in the region as largescale conversion among 'panas' and efforts by the converts to usurp land and reservation benefits of 'kandhs' led to resentment among tribals.

Alleging that a large number of churches have been illegally constructed on lands belonging to tribals, he claimed that hundreds of tribal places of worship called dharani penu (mother earth), the symbol of faith for kandhs, have been destroyed by overzealous elements.

Moreover, an amendment of 2002 to the presidential order on Scheduled Tribes, which included kui as a tribe incorrectly, should be withdrawn since kui is only a language spoken by the people of Kandhamal, he said.

The RSS leader hit out at successive governments in Orissa accusing them of failing to implement the Orissa freedom of religion Act 1967.

As a result, while the official records showed only two conversions, the christian population in Kandhamal district had increased six-fold between 1961 and 2001, he claimed.

Taking exception to statements of the Pope and leaders of some foreign governments on incidents in Orissa and other states, Das said these were undesirable interference in the internal affairs of our country.

To a query on the demand for ban on Bajrang Dal, he said the issue was being raised by parties like Samajwadi party and RJD as part of their vote bank politics.

About Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik describing some sangh parivar outfits as fundamentalist, he said it could mean anything including those who stick to the fundamentals of Hinduism.

On christian leaders favouring consultations on appointment of judge for judicial probe into Kandhamal violence, he said it is a government domain.

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