The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Christians trying to convert tsunami victims

Feb. 16, 2005

VHP international president Ashok Singhal has cautioned the tsunami-hit fishermen community in Tamil Nadu against being "lured" into changing their religion. Speaking at a function organised by the VHP for distribution of fibreglass boats to fishermen at Nambiar Nagar village near here on Tuesday, he alleged that attempts were being made by missionaries to convert tsunami victims in Tamil Nadu to Christianity. Referring to Kanchi Shankaracharyas issue, he claimed they had been arrested due to a "conspiracy" and said 'sanyasis'' would never act against the spirit of dharma and they were the embodiment of purity. "It was highly unfair to arrest such persons on baseless charges." On the tsunami relief measures undertaken by the government, he said there had been delay in giving assistance to the victims. He said the VHP had chosen the Nambiar Nagar village, where 240 people, including 125 children, had been killed, because the affected "did not receive" any help either from the government or the NGOs other than the cash award of Rs 4,000 and 60 kg of rice and provisions. He said the boats distributed had been purchased with Rs 10 lakh contributed by the management of a temple in Delhi. VHP national vice-president S Vedantam, who presided, said 10 motorised fibreglass boats had been distributed. He said the Parishad had been trying to secure more help to the village from affluent people in the northern states. It had also proposed to construct some houses for fishermen.


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