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 10, 2008

VHP calls bandh over attack by Christians

by Debabrata Mohanty

Bhubaneswar, July 9: The tribal-dominated but communally-sensitive Kandhamal district in Orissa on Wednesday witnessed a total bandh by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal in protest against an alleged attack on an inmate of an ashram run by Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati by a few Christians. Christian leaders, on the other hand, alleged that a Jesuit home was attacked in the area.

Schools, colleges and several institutions remained closed for most part of the day as the Sangh Parivar raised the pitch for the sacking of Kandhamal SP Nikhil Kanodia for his partisan activities. State Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik said that the situation is now under control. The State has sent Deputy Inspector General of Police (south-west range) Sanjib Panda and Revenue Divisional Commissioner Satyabrata Sahu to the area for keeping a close watch on the situation.

The district, which was rocked by bloody clashes between Dalit Christians and tribal Hindus in December last year over erection of a gate near a Hindu place of worship, saw another clash on Tuesday when the inmate of an ashram run by the controversial seer and a godman were reportedly assaulted by a few Christians. The godman was reportedly trying to take pictures of slaughtered cows on his cellphone when he was attacked.

Orissa Director General of Police G C Nanda said he will look into the matter if the police have registered any case against people who have been accused of cow slaughter.

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