Asserting that Hindu values will be restored in the country, Vishwa Hindu Parishad has said they have never wanted to convert the world but only to “win over its heart”.
Speaking at a book launch, VHP patron Ashok Singhal said it was due to their “struggle” in the last 50 years that Hindus have “regained” the lost “empire” of Delhi after 800 years.
“Our culture and religion were subjugated and we struggled. In 800 years, a day has now come in which we can say we have a government which is committed to protecting Hindutva. Our values will be gradually established in the country.
“We want an invincible Hindu society which works for the world’s welfare according to these values… We have never gone out to convert the world but to win over their heart,” Singhal said, apparently referring to the recent row over conversion.
Stepping up its ‘ghar wapsi’ campaign to mark its golden jubilee Saturday, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad “officially brought back to the Hindu fold” some 100 Christian tribals who had “embraced Hinduism earlier” in south Gujarat.
VHP activists later claimed as many as 900 had been “reconverted”.
The ‘ghar wapsi’ ceremony was conducted this afternoon at Arnai, a village in Kaprada taluka of Valsad district.
VHP members and some religious leaders watched as tribals from six villages were taken to a hot spring stream, made to take a dip. They were then made to sit for a ‘havan’ and told to throw rosaries into the fire as a confirmation of quitting Christianity.
Religious leaders sprinkled ‘Gangajal’ on them for “purification”. “This is a homecoming,” announced ‘kathakar’ (story teller) Praful Shukla who performed the rituals.
“Hindustan Hindu ka desh aur Hindu ka desh hi rahega (Hindustan is a country of Hindus and will remain so),” Shukla told the gathering. He said those “reconverted” had embraced Hinduism a couple of years ago and the Saturday event was their “official entry” into Hinduism again.
Meanwhile, the BJP has maintained silence on the comments by RSS and VHP. BJP chief Amit Shah said said he did not wish to comment on Rashtraya Swayamsevak Sangh’s chief Mohan Bhagwat’s comment on India being a “Hindu Rashtra”.
Shah evaded a direct reply and said, “RSS is a national organisation and I have no doubt over its activities.”
Justifying the ‘ghar wapsi (reconversion)’ campaign of Sangh affiliates, RSS sarsanghchalak Mohan Bhagwat said Saturday that those opposed to religious conversion should agree to bring in a law against the practice. Without naming Islam or Christianity, he said “we will bring back our brothers who have lost their way” and “belongings stolen by a thief”. He also called India a “Hindu Rashtra”.
Addressing a Virat Hindu Sammelan in Kolkata to mark the golden jubilee of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bhagwat said: “Hindus do not believe in conversion. If anyone fears that Hindus are resorting to conversion, let there be a legislation in Parliament to stop this practice. Hindus do not want to change anybody. If you do not want anybody to convert, then do not convert Hindus too.”
Referring to ‘ghar wapsi’, he said: “Bhule bhatke jo bhai gaye hain, unko wapas layenge. Woh log apne aap nahin gaye, unko loot kar, lalach de kar le kar gaye… Abhi chor pakda gaya hai. Mera maal chor ke paas hai. Aur yeh duniya jaanti hai. Mein apna maal wapas loonga, yeh kaunsi badi baat hai (We will bring back our brothers who have lost their way. They did not go on their own. They were robbed, tempted into leaving… Now the thief has been caught and the world knows my belongings are with the thief. I will retrieve my belongings, so why is this such a big issue).”