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.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

RSS activists attacked by Christian mob in Punjab

Two RSS activists, Deepak Telu and Sushil Sondhi, were injured in an attack by the activists of Punjab Christian Movement (PCM) who were rallying against the visit of RSS Sarsangha-chalak, Shri K.S. Sudarshan on October 2 in Jalandhar. The incident took place on September 26. Both the RSS workers sustained severe lashes on their face and back and were admitted to the ICU of Satyam Hospital. Sarsanghachalak Shri K.S. Sudarshan visited the hospital, where the injured Sangh workers were undergoing treatment.

The situation turned tense as members of various Hindu organisations including the seven Valmiki bodies and Hindu Dharam Suraksha Samiti activists gathered outside the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Police demanding action against the Christian group and registering of a cases under Section 307.

It is to be mentioned here that recently a home-coming ceremony was held in Jalandhar, in which 13 Valmiki families returned home. It is said the ceremony irked the Christian missionaries in the region and they suddenly decided to organise a Changai sabha on October 1 at the ground Shri Sudarshan was scheduled to address a function. Though, several Hindu organisations had opposed this move by Christian missionaries and the local administration was also requested to stop the so-called Changai sabha, as the RSS function was already scheduled, the administration did not pay any attention.

The police remained a mute spectator when the two of the RSS workers were being attacked with canes and bricks. On a complaint by the RSS activists, the SSP, Ishwar Singh, ordered registration of a case under Section 307 against five persons including Hamid Masih, Surinder Gill, Anil Kumar, Fredy Joseph and Lal Chand, all members of the PCM. Two policemen including an ASI were also suspended for not being able to handle the situation.

Activists of Hindu Jagaran Manch staged a demonstration and a rally at the local tehsil complex in protest against the assault by PCM activists.

Expressing sympathy for those injured, the local Catholic Church convened a meeting and termed the incident as “unfortunate and uncalled for”. Speaking at a press conference at Bishop’s House, Father Emmanuel Y. Diwan, spokesman for Catholic Church, Jalandhar, said the Punjab Christian Movement was simply a political association of some people with selfish motives and ambitions. He added that the Catholic Church was not opposing the visit of Shri Sudarshan. “Any religious or political body is free to invite its leader in the city and hold a function. There is no reason why we should clash over such an issue,” he said.

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