‘Education, healthcare before ghar wapsi’

Gaya: Day after conversion comes to light, Dalit Christians tell VHP to match promises by missionaries

Written by Santosh Singh | Atiya (gaya) | Published: December 27, 2014 5:11 am
A woman convert with her child at Atiya church. (Source: Express photo by Prashant Ravi) A woman convert with her child at Atiya church. (Source: Express photo by Prashant Ravi)

Around 40 Scheduled Caste Manjhi families, whose conversion to Christianity became public this Christmas, said they embraced the religion between 2007 and 2010 because missionaries promised them better healthcare, education and livelihood. The families, however, said they would agree to VHP’s “ghar wapsi” offer if they get the same deal.

A day after the conversion of Atiya villagers came to light, local BJP MP Hari Manjhi and VHP leaders reached out to them with “ghar wapsi” request. The converted families, however, first demanded better facilities from the Hindu leaders and the Bihar government that otherwise has failed to provide them free decimal land to construct houses and old-age pensions.

Bhuiyan (Manjhi) tola of Atiya village under Bodhgaya police station now has a church that doubles up as Promise Mission School, which claims to be “purely English medium” school offering “continuous comprehensive education” and computer facilities.

The village community hall, constructed as part of PM Adarsh Gram Yojana, houses pastor Rajkishore’s family, living in the village for three years and taking care of Sunday prayers.

However, Bodh Manjhi (60), at whose house had Christmas celebrations were arranged on Thursday, vehemently denied having converted and displayed his “Durga pendant”, saying he was still a Hindu. But, fellow villagers admitted that they had stopped going to temples around seven years ago.

“We came in contact of some good people (who came from a missionary) and they first convinced us to quit drinking and started giving our children good education,” said Anil Manjhi (35), who attributed his better health to this “good company”.

Safet Manjhi(22), a mason, said: “Around 40 families hold Sunday prayers under guidance of pastor Rajkishore, who is from Sasaram. One Ramesh from Bodhgaya was the first person from the missionary who contacted us and told about the benefits of conversion.”  The pastor, whose family was at the village, had left the village after Christmas celebrations.

Asked if they could reconvert to Hinduism, Safet said: “Yes, we can. But, local VHP leaders and state government will have to take better care of us, should give us hospital and land to raise homes.”

Other villagers showed a plaque that said the village was under”PM Adarsh Gram Yojana”. Pointing at electric poles without wires, they said the benefits promised by the government do not them. “We have a Manjhi CM  (Jeetan Ram Manjhi), but we have not yet got free three decimal land to raise homes,” said Vinod Manjhi, a daily wager.

Atiya has over 250 households of OBCs and SCs.

A group of Manjhi women, who looked livid at so many people questioning them now. They got into arguement with a local VHP leader, asking why the saffron outfit did not come to village even once in past to ask about their well being. “Now that you have heard about conversion, you are here,” said an angry woman.

The VHP leader, Barik, told women: “We need to listen to your problems. We will sort it out but please come back to your home (Hinduism).”

Gaya BJP MP Hari Manjhi, who held meeting with representatives of converted Manjhi families, told them: “Hindu is sanatan dharma… You should tell your problems and let us sort it out.”

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  1. A
    Dec 27, 2014 at 4:07 am
    Is not this open admisison of financial inducement by missionaries which VHp has been alleging since ages and MSM has been calling VHP communal for raising this issue. It becomes problem when VHP promises to induce reconversion . yes secular India has two set of laws for media at least
    1. P
      Dec 27, 2014 at 9:59 am
      Government should prevent christan missionary schools aided by government to use aa a platform for conversion in the rural areas . At the same time VHP or any Hindu educations trust should start schools for children for BC and SC with members of BC and SC as school committe members aided by BJP government . HRD Ministry should allout schools and land for Hindu organisation to educate members that is the only solution to prevent conversion.The said school is constructed by the aid of UPA government time
      1. K
        Dec 27, 2014 at 9:54 am
        Government building being used as a Church!
        1. I
          Dec 28, 2014 at 5:21 am
          Media people must be attacked for their hatred and communalism towards hindus, it is must
          1. S
            Dec 27, 2014 at 9:23 am
            so its ok for the christians and muslims to covert without any reservations but a sin for the hindus to return to hinduism. and all the lecturers are saved for them. great these secular media is
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