January 31, 2015 12:17:55 am
At least 18 Dalit Christians including seven schoolchildren – three girls and four boys – were “re-converted” to Hinduism at a ceremony at Sankara Mutt, a private temple at T Nagar in Chennai on Friday. A “ghar wapsi” event in Tamil Nadu was held on Friday morning and was organised by the Hindu Makkal Katchi, a Hindu political party founded in 1993, despite efforts by the police to prevent it.
Arjun Sampth, a 49-year-old cable TV operator and leader of the Hindu Makkal Katchi, said this is the first ever “ghar wapsi” in Tamil Nadu. “We had planned to convert 108 people but due to trouble created by the police, only few of them could reach the temple on time,” he said. Sampath has been put on house arrest by the police. “We had affidavits of 162 people and planned the rituals at Parthasarathy temple at Triplicane. Since it is controlled by the government, the police denied permission. We changed the venue to Sankara Mutt owned by Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Peetam,” he said.
Alleging that a senior police officer had illegally tried to stop the “re-conversions”, Sampath said they will continue “re-conversions” in the coming weeks and months. “We have 18,000 volunteers in the state. Our people are already working in rural areas to find more people willing to embrace Hinduism. By 2017, at least one lakh people will be re-converted,” he said, adding that 2017 is the millennium year of birth of Acharya Sri Ramanuja, a Hindu philosopher who lived in Tamil Nadu.
Most of the people “re-converted” to Hinduism on Friday were coolies and fishermen from Minjur, Pattinapakkam and Tiruvallur in the city suburbs and Saidapet, a locality in the city with a large slum population. Sampath said that the RSS and the BJP are not directly involved in “re-conversions” as it would affect the image of the Prime Minister. While the first stage of “ghar wapsi” rituals were completed in 10 minutes, at 10.30 am all of them were taken to the inner chamber of the temple where they underwent pujas that lasted for more than 30 minutes, an organiser said.
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