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, December 29, 2007

Hindus protest attack on Swami Laxmanananda

By Debasis Tripathy in Bhubaneswar

Day before the birthday of Jesus Christ, Christian goons attacked Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati in Kondhamal district where Swamiji sustained injury, of course his precious life was spared by luck. Protesting against this attack on revered Swamiji, Hindus of the state observed a state wide Bandh which received massive public support being seriously injured is now admitted in the local hospital at Phulbani. His bodyguard, driver and other accompaning sadhus were brutally beaten up by the Christian hooligans. One of his disciples has been kidnapped and nobody knows whether he is killed or alive.

Swamiji from his hospital bed, talked to Organiser about this attack. According to him on December 24, he alongwith his team of saints was visiting a village namely Daringibadi under Daringbadi Police Station for religious purposes. When they were passing through that area, about 200 Christian miscreants armed with deadly weapons stopped his vehicle and tried to kill him on the spot but his disciple brahmacharis and bodyguard managed to save his life. “They attacked us suddenly, abused us for our Paravartan mission and dragged us out to kill. Our driver and angrakshak were roughly beaten up. It was a pre-meditated plan to kill us. The area is dominated by converted Christians and minority Hindus suffer a lot. We were going to perform a religious satsang there. The attackers told us that their government is ruling at Delhi and they can do everything. In my 90 years of life, I have never faced such an incident. Swelling of their number by massive conversion has increased their anti-national and criminal activities. The administration has failed to check conversion in Vanvasi areas. We will not stop our mission. Protection of Hindutva is my diksha,” said Swamiji.

The police source confirms that the attackers had made the plan to kill Swami Laxmanananda on the eve of Christmas Day. The Officer in-charge of Daringibadi police station said “Investigation is going on. From preliminary inquiry it is disclosed that the attackers chalked out a plan to kidnap Swamijee and to kill him on December 25.”

On the other hand Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Vishva Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal and the likeminded Hindu organisations called for a state wide agitation protesting against this attack. BJP also supported the agitation. As a result the public life was paralysed from 6 am to 1 pm on December 25. State capital Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Kendrapara, Rourkela, Sambalpur, Berhampur, Bhawanipatana, Khurda, Nayagarh, Nuapada, Balasore, Baripada and Anugul witnessed the massive bandh. In Phulbani, the common people spontaneously participated in Bandh from dawn to dusk. And in some places Vanvasis in wrath, ransacked churches where conversions were going on.

RSS and VHP’s reaction

Sangh and VHP have strongly condemned the incident. Shri Bipin Bihari Nanda, pranta karyawaha of RSS in his reaction said “Swami Laxmanananda is the venerable saint of Hindus of Orissa. Taking much pain in life he has done a lot for the emancipation of Hindus and protection of their rights. He is the pioneer of home coming movement in the backward Vanvasi areas. For the last 50 years, he is working for the poor and vanvasis who are wrapped by the missionary net. Such an incident did not happen earlier. We suspect the hand of a local political leader of a particular political party behind this incident. Now the life of Swamiji has become endangered. As he always wanders in the forest for his Seva Karya, there is every possibility of killing him. Hence his security should immediately be tightened. The Hindus of the state should come forward and save Orissa from Missionary miscreants”, he told.

Dr. Pramod Acharya, the state secretary of VHP, in a press statement said that the organisation has taken a serious note of it and anti conversion drive will be more active. He has urged the state Govt. to take immediate and prompt action against the hooligans involved in the crime. “If the Government fails, the Hindus of Orissa will come for their own protection”, he added.

The saint and seers of Orissa have expressed their reactions against the attack on Swami Laxmananandji. Mahant Krushna Charan Das Goswami, the president of ‘Math Mandir Surakshya Samiti’ told in a press statement that Swamiji is their role model and no attack on him in any manner will be tolerated. “Hindu saints are becoming first target of Christian goons. They are getting ample funds to run their anti-social activities particularly in Vanvasi areas. Conversion is already restricted in the state. Anti Conversion law is there but it is not being implemented and executed properly for which missionaries manage to run their conversion activities safely. Gradual increase in their number, automatically increases their power and courage for which they have dared to attack on Swami Laxmanananda.”

Swami Jiban Chaitanya Maharaj and Swami Bhagaban Das Maharaj, the members of VHP’s Kendriya Margadarshak Mandal demanded for the immediate arrest of the Christian criminals and to halt their illegal conversion of Hindus.

Puri Shankaracharya’s reaction

Jagadguru Shankaracharya of Puri Swami Nischalananda Saraswati strongly condemned the attack on Swami Laxmanananda. Talking to Organiser, he told “this pre-planned and well organised attack on Swami Laxmanananda was a gruesome attempt to murder him in cold blood. It is a shame for us. He has been relentlessly working for the poor since last 50 years in Kondhamal and other Vanvasi districts of Orissa. The Christian missionaries have encroached a good number of government land and built churches over them. These churches have become the center of conversion and epitome of anti-social activities. Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati urged the state government for several times to evict those unauthorised churches. But nothing has been done yet. The government should take a serious step and evict the unauthorised churches and strictly execute the existing anti-conversion enactment. Our Aditya Bahini shall protest against this incident.”

According to latest information, injured Swamiji has been shifted to Cuttack for better treatment and security reasons.

Condemning the attack, Subash Chouhan, national co-convenor, Bajrang Dal said that the attack on Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati is a cowardice act of christians and it is highly condemnable. It was totally pre-planned to assassinate Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati and by this they want to blame the government of Shri Navin Patnayak. Sensing the seriousness of the situation, the government should act against the Christians missionaries but unfortunately government is acting against the Hindus by arresting them. By this they are fulfilling the desire of the Christians who did this uncivilised act.

Shri Chouhan demanded that the government should take stern action against the culprit Christians who did this cowardice act. He also demanded sufficient security coverage to Swami Laxmanananda Saraswati till life time.

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