Chhattisgarh missionaries under attack as VHP launches fresh persecution drive

VHP has asked the new BJP government to bring comprehensive anti-conversion legislation in the state
( [email protected] ) Dec 19, 2003 10:48 AM EST

Raipur, Chhattisgarh, India., Dec. 19 - Bharatiya Janata Party's resounding victory in the Assemply poll has encouraged the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) to launch a fresh drive against Christian missionaries and conversions in Chhattisgarh.

It has asked the fledgling Government to bring comprehensive legislation in the state assembly to check forced conversions.

Stepping up its drive against Christian missionaries, the VHP has asked them to shun "anti-Hindu" activities, keep away from conversion practices and restrict themselves only to their basic religious duties.

The barely veiled threat was made on Sunday during a VHP meeting in Raipur.

Addressing a core group meeting of its members, VHP state president Ramesh Modi said Hindu organisations in the state would not tolerate "continuous suppression of Hindus in Chhattisgarh by churches guided and controlled by those have roots in foreign countries."

He expressed serious concern about the sudden rise in the number of churches in Chhattisgarh during the previous Ajit Jogi led Congress government.

The VHP had monitored the activities of Christian organisations during Jogi's tenure and found that forceful religious conversions in the state, particularly in the tribal areas, had reached an all time high, he said.

VHP officials said the Hindu rightwing organisation would also launch an agitation against churches and organise over 1,000 purification programmes for those wanting to reconvert.

The core group of the VHP has said the format of the anti-conversion legislation be similar to those passed by Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.