RSS uses census report to start reconversion drive
Posted September 19, 2004
DH NEWS SERVICE CHANDHARPUR (BIHAR)
Saturday, September 18, 2004
FROM J P YADAV
The controversy over, India's first ever religion based census report has come in handy for the saffron brigade to take up their reconversion drive with renewed vigour. And of all places this is happening in Laloo Yadav's secular citadel, Bihar.
Five dalit families of a sleepy hamlet, Chandharpur in Samastipur district some 120 Km from Patna, had accepted Christianity around two years back and were happy with their decision till the census report was made public. They became the target of attack by Hindu forces in and around their village.
Last Tuesday, these families finally succumbed to pressure from the majority community. A 'yajna' was organised at a primary school playground where they returned to the Hindu fold. A representative of the missionaries who had prevailed upon them to accept Christianity was attacked and forced to flee.
Interestingly, during this drive, local leaders from even 'secular' parties like Laloo Yadav's RJD, the Congress and the CPI joined hands with representatives of the RSS to help with the "holy job".
"This has nothing to do with party ideology. Everyone here decided that these families should be brought back to the Hindu fold and so I being a part of society participated in it," justified Lal Behari Sahni, who is an active member of the CPI for the last 20 years.
Braj Behari Bharatiya, a member of the RSS from the adjacent Keshavpatti village was instrumental in the whole affair. "The census report has it that the Hindu population is decreasing. It was our duty to help increase the Hindu population or India will become Pakistan and Christan," the RSS old guard remarked. He alleged that missionaries were pumping dollars in India to buy the poor.
Mr Bharatiya informed they had formed a "Hindu Jagran Committee" in the area to counter the missionaries. The latest census report according to Laliteshwar Prasad an RJD member of the village had instilled fear among the Hindu community of ending up as a minority.
The BJP-RSS too is actively campaigning quoting reports by foreign agencies that by 2050 the Hindu population in India will be less than 50 per cent.
According to these representatives there was no pressure on these family members to return to the Hindu fold. Phulia Devi, wife of Sonelal Ram, whose entire family had converted to Christianity narrated a different tale. "The entire community pressurised us. They even threatened that they will not allow our children get married," she alleged.
It was Phulia's son, Vinod Ram who had decided to accept Christianity two years back and prevailed upon his parents and wife to do the same. A rickshaw-puller, he takes children to the missionary schools in Samastipur town.
He too wanted his children to study in such schools. It was around this time that a representative of the missionary Kamal Narayan Rai started propagating Christianity in the area. He decided to become a Christian hoping for a better future for his family.
These families belong to lowest "chamar" caste among the dalits, who skin dead animals. They are virtually treated like untouchables. "In the caste system we are treated like out-casts in the village. We learnt that everyone is equal in Christianity," pointed out Phulia Devi.
According to sadar DSP Sushil Kumar who is looking into the case, poverty makes dalits easy prey for different religious groups. He promised that action would be taken if it was found that pressure was applied from any side for conversion and reconversion.