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, January 24, 2009

Conversions creating social tension in Karnataka

From R Guru Prasad from Bengaluru

It seems Christian groups have decided to convert all Hindus to Christianity at any cost. One shocking incident reported on January 4 in Bengaluru, revealed that Hindus are not safe even in their homes, as members of Christian missionaries have intensified their door-to-door campaign to market their religion through illegal ways. The incident of forced conversion came to light when Prabhod Kumar Das, who hails from Orissa and resides in 5th Cross, Murugeshpalya in Bengaluru, bravely filed a complaint with Airport Police Station. Rama Reddy, 26, from Nanjareddy Colony, who came from Andhra Pradesh, Micoh Barbosa, 35, and his wife Asmira Barbosa were arrested by the police and a case was registered against them under sections IPC 153(A) and 295(A).

The residents from Murugeshpalya, brought these miscreants to Airport Police Station. They allegedly tried to perform a conversion by luring general public to convert with promises of better jobs overseas. Books, handouts and other materials used for conversion were seized from them. Two other persons who worked with the three are absconding. Micoh is a native of Karwar and resident of Rajanukunte, on the outskirts of Bengaluru.

On December 28, 2008 the trio went door-to-door distributing Bible and other pamphlets in the densely populated Murugeshpalya, located near old Airport Road. Residents of the area did not take their act seriously. When they visited Prabhod Kumar Das’s house and many other Hindu’s homes to convince that Christianity is better than any religion. It has become a common sight for Bangloreans to see Christian missionaries offering free Bibles and CD’s in Railway Stations, KSRTC bus stands, exhibition halls and at other public gatherings. Public prayer meetings and healing sessions organised in play grounds are also not new to Bengaluru. Crowd of Muruge-shpalya became restless on January 4, when the trio out of over confidence, revisited the same locality to persuade them to change the religion with more vulnerable promises like financial benefit for those who sign the agreement form for changing the religion. What irked Prabhod Kumar Das and his neighbours is the attitude of these alleged agents of conversion. According to the complaint lodged with the police, these agents derided Hindu gods and told that Hindu gods are responsible for poor lifestyle, gates of heaven open only for Christians and all others go to hell. If converted to their religion, they said they could offer a better living overseas with a high paying job.

As the forced conversions are rampant in Karnataka, pro-Hindu organisations are demanding the state government to frame Anti-Conversion Law. Speaking at seminar organised by Platform of Indian Intellects on January 4, ‘Conversion—an assault on Truth’, well known authors like Dr SL Byrappa, Dr M Chidananda Murthy, Dr R Ganesh, Dr NS Rajaram and ex-minister Harnahalli Ramaswany demanded the Union government to introduce Uniform Civil Code and urged the State government to implement Anti-Conversion Law at once. Dr SL Byrappa alleged that Hindu population seen a 6.35 per cent decline whereas Muslim population has grown by 3.57 per cent in the last 50 years because of absence of uniformed civil code. If the same trend continues, he reiterated that in 150 years from now Hindus will become minorities in India. To safeguard our culture, religion and vedic knowledge, our country should be protected against Christianity and Islam and he requested the public to understand the poisonous effect of conversion and voluntarily lodge a police complaint against forced conversions throughout the state.

Dr NS Rajaram said conversion issue is not as simple as it looks as the national security is also linked to conversion.

Another massive awareness programme against conversion ‘Hindu Dharma Jagriti Sabha’ was organised on January 4 at Malleswaram grounds. Speaking on the occasion, VHP leader Vijayakumar Reddy said both conversion and terrorism are two faces of the same coin and he urged the government to hang Afzal Guru, the man accused in Parliament attack case. He further said all political parties are trying to appease minorities for the votes and forgetting Hindutva which is slowly slipping away.

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