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.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Upset with Conversions, Villagers Lock Up Church

Ponneri: Dinamalar

Tension prevailed near Ponneri as villagers locked up the church accusing it of conversions. Murichambedu is a village near Minjur in Ponneri Taluk near Chennai. Steven (45) and his wife Annammal live in this village. Two years ago they shifted along with their two children to this village from Madurai district. Steven bought land in this village and instantly constructed a church. Following this, he went ahead and bought land for burial ground for christists. After this, he started his attempts to convert the villagers to christism. Slowly he succeeded in conversion attempts.

Following the initial success in this village, he started spreading his tentacles to the neighbouring villages and began conversions on a larger scale. He has even managed to convert the local school teacher by name, Padma. The number of conversions in Murichambedu started increasing steadily. It is reliably learnt that Steven used to visit every house in Murichambedu and apply undue pressure on the inmates to convert.

This lead to the stoppage of the local Amman festival also. And the Mandir activity in the village had also come to an abrupt halt. Angered by this, the villagers met Steven and told him to stop his proselytizing activities. Steven ignored their representation and continued with his virulent activity. This infuriated the villagers who went to the church and locked it. And then drove the Steven family out of the village.

Steven registered a complaint at the Mijur police station. Based on this complaint, the Mijur police inspector has called the villagers and is negotiating peace.

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