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, May 07, 2009

Myanmar Mission of the Council of Nagaland Baptist Churches Missionaries set Hindu temple on fire

Publication: Organiser
Date: February 15, 2009
URL: http://www.organiser.org/dynamic/modules.php?name=Content&pa=showpage&pid=277&page=8

According to the complaints of Hindu Nagas, the Christian missionaries from Tamenlong in Manipur in collusion with their Barak Valley activists have been converting the Hindus of Ujan Tarapur through allurements and threats.

SILCHAR: Christian missionaries preach many things and quote the Bible in particular to say, "We do not hurt other denominations." And behind the facade of this Biblical adherence lies the ugly face of their activities to take resort to illegal and fraud for conversion of the innocent and simple minded people by force, inducement and questionable means. It is now more than clear that it is these missionaries who create conflict and stoke the flame of religious bigotry and communal passion. Glaring example is Kandhamal.Laxamananda Saraswati was murdered because he had become a formidable force in the area against forced conversion of Hindus. His popularity and following in the area was rapidly increasing, scaring the Christian zealots.

The pseudo secularists and the media of that mindset blamed the VHP and the Bajrang Dal for the Kandhamal situation without making any ground study. Let them come to Barak Valley of Assam and have independent and objective look at the nefarious and provocative designs of the missionaries to convert the Hindus.

Christian missionaries as a part of their proselytisation drive after abortive attempts at conversion have again targeted the Hindu Rongmei Naga inhabited village of Ujan Tarapur, near Banskandi. Under the guidance of their pastor they attacked the temple of Goddess Kali and set the idol on fire, besides causing extensive damage to the temple.

On the basis of the complaint lodged with the Lakhipur police station by the Rongmeis, the police took prompt action and arrested Thuirangdin Rongmei (47), Pawhailung Rongmei (63) and Alum Rongmei (35). Thuirangdin is from the Tamenlong district of Manipur while two others are from Barak Valley of Assam. Another missionary involved in the crime identified as Miuri Rongmei is absconding.

Additional SP of Cachar Pradip Ranjan Kar, officer in-charge of Lakhipur Seva Singh and magistrate Ranjit Kumar Laskar rushed to the spot on receipt of information and arrested the missionaries who were produced before the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court at Silchar. These missionaries have been chargesheeted under sections 120(B), 153(A), 295(A) of 427/435/34 IPC.

According to the complaints of Hindu Nagas, the Christian missionaries from Tamenlong in Manipur in collusion with their Barak Valley activists have been converting the Hindus of Ujan Tarapur through allurements and even by threats. Zeliangrong Haraku Association (ZHA), an organisation of Naga Tribes-Zeme, Rongmei and Liyangmei-has taken serious exception to the decision of the Myanmar Mission of the Council of Nagaland Baptist Churches (CNBC) to evangelise the Nagas.

The Council at its last annual meeting held at Paren in Nagaland has adopted a resolution to conduct evangelisation programme. The resolution calls upon the Baptist churches to take positive steps in this regard.

Quite intriguing is the use of code and the organised efforts of the Baptist churches to work for the realisation of Myanmar mission. Details of this mission are not known. The CNBC has reiterated to "uphold this mission project in every possible way as a joint ministry in the world evangelisation mission."

Gaifui Rongmei, Pinsingpoi Rongmei and Chinkudai Rongmei of Ujan Tarapur had complained earlier that "this proselytisation drive is not new." Three missionaries have been frequenting their areas and forcing them to embrace Christianity. This process started in 1996 when copies of Bible were distributed among the 50 odd families of the village. Following year their visit was with questionnaires to all of them and particularly on the essence of the Bible and what they have learnt about Jesus Christ and Christianity.

Panicked villagers met Kalyan Ashram members who immediately took up the matter with the then deputy commissioner, Pawan Kumar Borthakur and SP Jeevan Singh as well as the subsidiary intelligence bureau officials. The villagers said the missionaries abused their gods and goddesses and advised them not to offer worship at their apoo ragwang (Shiva) and paimadiliu (Kali) temples. They also alleged that the missionaries not only resorted to coercive methods but also extorted money from 43 families.

ZHA in a statement at Haflong while advising the Zeliangrongs to preserve their tradition, culture and heritage has cautioned the missionaries against conversion for such a process would only create tension and conflict, fraught with disastrous consequences.

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