Discord in India: BJP lawmaker plans mass conversion of Muslims, Christians

Published: December 13, 2014
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BJP supporters. PHOTO: REUTERS

BJP supporters. PHOTO: REUTERS

LUCKNOW: A Hindu priest-turned-lawmaker vowed on Friday to convert hundreds of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism on Christmas Day, despite a police investigation into an earlier round of conversions.

Religious conversions in India are threatening to sow fresh discord as Muslim groups and opposition parties accuse organisations tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling party of trying to undermine the nation’s secular foundations.

This week, police said they were investigating a case in which Muslim slum-dwellers complained they had been tricked into a Hindu conversion ceremony in Agra, lured by the promise of cheap government rations and voter identity cards.

But Yogi Adityanath, a four-time member of parliament from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, said an even bigger ceremony to convert Muslims would be held in Aligarh as scheduled and that it was an entirely voluntary affair.

“We have been doing this every year for the past 10 years. It’s not a conversion, its a homecoming,” he said, adding that the families signing up for the ceremony were originally Hindus.

“These people talk of development, but are trying to create a rift in society,” Hussain Dalwai, a Congress lawmaker said. The BJP denies any bias against minorities but says it opposes appeasement of any community.

“These conversions are just the beginning,” warned Mulayam Singh Yadav, a leader of a regional group. “If this spreads to other parts of the country, there can be riots.”

Published in The Express Tribune, December 13th, 2014.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Pity
    Dec 13, 2014 - 10:44AM

    This is not surprising especially after the BJP has come into power. And the Indians criticize Pakistan for the treatment of religious minorities….really!

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  • dude
    Dec 13, 2014 - 11:16AM

    @Pity:
    more conversions are happening to hindus in India than anyother. and now everybody has problem!!
    and in pakistan its kidnapping, torturing, threatening. and forceful conversion.. otherwise they will be burned aive

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  • lol
    Dec 13, 2014 - 11:25AM

    Pakistanis wish this would have happened to them right?Cmon admit it.Hehe..Dont worry, you wont be left in the scheme of things.They might have plans for you too.Heheh

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  • Pakistani
    Dec 13, 2014 - 12:06PM

    Thank you Jinnah, we appreciate ur help of giving us separate home.

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  • Raj - USA
    Dec 13, 2014 - 1:13PM

    First of all, there is no force and it is totally free-will conversion. So, muslims and christians should not have any objection to it. In a way this is good because it is only if others know that same thing can be done to them they would support a totally non-discriminatory law applicable equally to all religious conversions. So long all others had been converting hindus to their religion but hindus kept quiet. Retaliation is sometimes necessary but care should be taken that it is within certain limits and does not go out of control. Even when India brought tough laws to punish rapists, parties like SP and leaders like Mulayam Singh Yadav who counts on muslim vote banks opposed it and said boys make mistakes and there should not be tough laws against rapists.

    The fear muslims will have is that if such conversions to hinduism takes steam, it will encourage many to abandon islam, even if they do not convert to other religions. China has very strict controls on islamic religious teachings. They do not allow muslims less than 18 years of age to enter mosques. They control what religious material can be taught in the mosques. All imams must be approved by their government. Recently, they have also started to monitor religious teachings that children receive in their homes.

    I am also against all forced conversions and also conversions to hinduism as there is no such concept in hinduism. Importantly, by converting anyone to your religion you do not necessarily make them good followers of your religion.

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  • Baddi Magane
    Dec 13, 2014 - 1:57PM

    1) India is a democratic country where one is free to choose any religion without fear of being foisted with blasphemy charges.

    2) Those individuals who were once converted under the fear of sword are simply going back to their ancestral faith. What’s wrong in that?

    3) In Canada, I have come across Muslims who have converted to other faiths for the sake of better opportunities and also to unburden their future generations of needless baggage.

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  • Aman
    Dec 13, 2014 - 3:46PM

    If you read this you will know something more. This is incorrect news. BJP lawmakers are not involved in this activity. There has been a conversion incident in Agra where 350 people who were earlier converted from Hinduism to other religion have been invited to convert into Hinduism again. They have not been forced into it. Secondly when you use the word lawmaker what do you mean? Do you know the process and people involved in a law to be made in India. Please understand lawmakers are member of parliament and thus no MP is involved in any activity. No government can force anyone to change their religion in India.

    Secondly India allows anyone to practice any religion. They can convert any number of times into any religion and change their Gods. There are mass conversions happening in India in Christianity, Buddhism and Islam where the Hindu minorities are converted into other religions. No one points towards that. The shudras and dalits in India have been converted into Buddhists. There have been no uproar for the same as Hinduism is about seeking and exploring.

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  • Shorab Gilani
    Dec 13, 2014 - 7:48PM

    @Raj – USA:
    Then you wont mind “free will” hindu conversions in Pakistan? Good to know

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  • Kamran
    Dec 14, 2014 - 12:15AM

    Conversion have no value if the converted know neither the religion he was or the religion he will be. I feel sorry for these people as they only wish to have food for their families and to get through life and will say or do whatever to get that. Humankind has come a long way.but not all humans have come along enough to understand………science.

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  • Sarah Paul
    Dec 14, 2014 - 6:47PM

    India cannot be brought under one religion, one language, one creed or caste. It’s very multi -faceted nature makes the essence of her culture. All these conversion uproar will bring more troubles than joy. Peace and prosperity matter more to this nation than religions. As long as people behave as human beings and do things that will make this nation progress we should be a happy nation.

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  • Mazo
    Dec 16, 2014 - 10:30AM

    @Sarah Paul:

    Too bad you didn’t share such noble sentiments when entire districts in Odisa and entire states in NE were being “saved” by Evangelican pastors fueled with American money and a complicit Central government of bankrupt idealists and liberal traitors from the Congress Party for 65 years.

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  • Sarfaraz Abbasi
    Dec 16, 2014 - 11:11AM

    @dude: Name the groups that hold conversions in Pakistan, like that in India (attended by Indian members of parties) please! Don’t try to be smart

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