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.

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Conversion has gone up after UPA came to power: Singhal

AMRITSAR, JUNE 28 (PTI)

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) today alleged religious conversion had gone up after United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government came to power at the Centre.

"The rate of conversion has increased manifold since the UPA came to power at the Centre", VHP Working President Ashok Singhal told a convention of his organization here.

"Congress wants to take advantage of alleged differences among the Sangh Parivar. But we are united and will not allow to fulfill evil designs of any anti-Hindu forces", Singhal.

Voicing alleged large scale conversion to Christianity in border villages of Punjab, he asked Sikh leaders to take note of this "as it could prove to be a serious threat to Sikhism." "As far as VHP is concerned, it has already launched a campaign in the border villages of Punjab to educate the Sikhs about the game plan of anti-national forces which are luring the people to conversion," according to Singhal.

To a question whether VHP considers Sikhs as part of Hindus, Singhal avoided a direct reply and said "the main concern of the day is that those who consider Sikhism as a separate religion from Hinduism should do something to curb conversion of Sikhs into Christians." Expressing his concern over increase in infiltration of Bangladeshis in the country, Singhal claimed although as per the government statistics about two crore Bangladeshis have intruded VHP has information that the number was more than three crore.

He said VHP has decided to launch a campaign for complete boycott of such Bangladeshi "intruders" in order to force them to leave the country.

"Even the Supreme Court has also ordered to throw out the Bangladeshis but so-called secular leaders are protecting them for taking political mileage," Singhal further alleged.

Regarding the Ram Mandir issue, he said a committee would discuss it tomorrow and a strategy would be finalised after taking the opinion of the sant samaj.

Asked about confidence building measures (CBMs) being initiated by both India and Pakistan, Singhal termed it as "total fraud" and said "When everyday Indians are being killed due to the terrorism supported by Pakistani intelligence agency (ISI), how can we say that we are progressing towards friendship with Pakistan." Singhal apprehended that Taliban was becoming stronger in Pakistan to take revenge on the Pakistani authorities for their support to the American forces.

On the economic front, Singhal criticised the UPA government for its policies of liberalisation, privatisation and globalisation and said no country could progress by attracting multi-national companies unless it improves the standard of those living below the poverty line.

While avoiding direct query on the Advani, Singhal said "National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was a big experimental failure.

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