The Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Sunday waded into the controversy relating to religious conversions, saying there is nothing wrong in its ‘ghar wapsi’ programme and called for a law to check “forced” conversions.
The VHP said Parliament should pass a law on forced religious conversions and maintained that while conversions were wrong, there is nothing wrong in ‘ghar wapsi’ or reconversion back to Hinduism.
Addressing a congregation here to mark VHP’s golden jubilee, VHP’s International Working President Pravin Togadia said Congress President Sonia Gandhi and SP chief Mulayam Singh Yadav should ensure passage of a bill in Parliament to prevent religious conversions. “Let there be no conversions, but say yes to ghar wapsi,” he said addressing the gathering.
Claiming that Hindus were not safe in India, he said if we are not careful, then states like Assam, West Bengal and Kerala will be “devoid” of any Hindu population.
Togadia also slammed US President Barack Obama for his recent “religious intolerance” remarks, saying “we do not require sermons” as they have failed to prevent an attack on a temple there. He, however, did not name the US President.
Togadia said Art. 25 of the Constitution lays down that a person has freedom of conscience and can engage in free profession, practice and propagation of religion.
The VHP leader’s remarks came days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in Lok Sabha that “nobody has the right to discriminate on the basis of religion… No one has the right to take law into his hands”.
Referring to the Ram temple in Ayodhya, Togadia said VHP is celebrating a festival on Sunday to marks its anniversary as there is still no Ram Temple there.
“We will have festivities once there is a Ram temple, once four lakh Kashmiri Hindus return to the Valley trampling on the chests of jihadis,” he said.
He said that to protect the interests of Hindu, a constitutional amendment making India a “Hindu rashtra” would be a good solution.
Addressing the gathering, VHP’s International President G Raghava Reddy said there was a need to maintain the Hindu population at 80 per cent in the country.
“While Christians have monetary sources for conversions and Muslims have force of population, the Hindus should do a course on unity,” he said.
He alleged that Christians get Rs 40,000 crore annually for conversion activities.
BJP leader Subramanian Swamy said Muslims and Christians in the country should admit that their ancestors were Hindus. He also said he will work for the construction of the Ram temple in Ayodhya by seeking a judicial pronouncement in its favour.
Jagatguru Shankrachayra Vasudevanand Saraswati sought to play down the controversy surrounding Sai Baba as some remarks were made against him by certain Hindu religious leaders. He said Sai Baba was a Hindu and a Brahmin and his name should not be dragged into any controversy.
He said that the 2014 Lok Sabha election results show that Hindus had united to vote for BJP.
On the issue of conversions, he said that while it was a crime to convert people, reconversion of those who had earlier converted to other religions was “welcome”.
Tarun Sagar, a Jain monk, spoke on similar lines, saying that while he opposes conversions, “what is wrong in coming back?”
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines