Hindu Group Announces Drive To ‘Reconvert’ Millions To Hindu Caste In Karnataka
In a blatantly bigoted move, a Hindu group in Karnataka state has announced it will launch a major drive to convert non-Hindus to Hindu religion. The announcement by the Hindu Lingayat caste community comes even as the Karnataka government, which is ruled by the Hindu rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has declared that it will bring an anti-conversion to criminalize conversions from Hinduism to other faiths such as Christianity and Islam.
The Lingayats are a powerful Hindu caste community in Karnataka, accounting for 10% of the state’s 65 million people. Its leader has claimed, without evidence, that 100,000 members of this caste group have recently converted to Christianity. BJP state legislator has even repeated the bogus claim of forced conversions to Christianity at a legislative meeting, following which the government ordered a “survey” of “unauthorized” churches.
Over 50 Churches Stop Prayers After BJP-Ruled Madhya Pradesh Bans Christian Gatherings
In a gross violation of Constitutional rights, the BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh government has banned Christian gatherings in a district, leading to a complete stoppage of prayers at more than 50 churches on November 20 (Sunday). The state government’s decision has followed threats of violence and protests from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a Hindu extremist group, in Jhabua district.
A government official actually issued a circular to police stations declaring a complete ban on Christian gatherings that do not have permission from the local magistrate, the U.S.-based persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reported.
“I read the circular last Friday and decided not to have worship on Sunday,” a local pastor was quoted as saying. “The last five months have been difficult. Our congregation has been reduced from 40 members to 15. Even these 15 are now scared.” Local authorities have also previously sent out similar notices to Christian leaders in the district, demanding they show evidence of their legal conversion to Christianity. Over 300 pastors and Christian leaders have met with authorities and submitted a memorandum but little has changed.
Madhya Pradesh is one of the several Indian states that have “anti-conversion” laws, which presume that Christians “force” or give financial benefits to Hindus to convert them to Christianity.
The law states that no one is allowed to use the “threat” of “divine displeasure,” meaning Christians cannot talk about Heaven or Hell, as that would be seen as “forcing” someone to convert. And if snacks or meals are served to Hindus after an evangelistic meeting, that could be seen as an “inducement.
While Christians make up only 2.3% of India’s population and Hindus comprise about 80%, radical Hindu nationalists have been carrying out attacks on Christians under the pretext of punishing the minority for allegedly using “force or monetary rewards” to convert Hindus to Christianity.
India ranks as the 10th worst country globally when it comes to Christian persecution, according to Open Doors USA’s 2021 World Watch List. The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has urged the U.S. State Department to label India as a “country of particular concern” for engaging in or tolerating severe religious freedom violations. Shockingly, the U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken refused to designate India as CPC last week.
Muslim Groups Revive Demand For Repeal Of Anti-Muslim Citizenship Law
After Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was forced to withdraw discriminatory farm laws against which millions of farmers have protested for a year, several Muslim organizations and prominent Muslim citizens have revived the demand that the Modi government also repeal the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).
Emboldened by the success of the farmers’ agitation in forcing Modi’s hands, several Muslim organizations and members of the civil society have now urged the government to repeal the discriminatory Citizenship (Amendment) Act, after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the withdrawal of the farm laws last week.
The Jamiat-e-Ulema president Maulana Arshad Madani welcomed the announcement of withdrawal of the three farm laws and lauded the farmers for their success. He demanded that just like the farm laws, the CAA should also be withdrawn. He said that the decision to withdraw the farm laws has shown that democracy and the power of the people is paramount.
“Every effort was made to subdue the farmers’ movement just as it was done with all other agitations in the country,” Madani said. Darul Uloom Deoband spokesman, Maulana Sufiyan Nijami, said that just like the farm laws, the government should take back the CAA for harmony and peace in society.
Kunwar Danish Ali, a Member of Parliament from the opposition Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP), said the CAA should be repealed “without further delay.”
He wrote on Twitter: “Repealing 3 Farm Laws is a welcome move. I congratulate farmers for their will power to fight, sacrifice and defeat the mighty state power and their crony capitalist friends. Prime Minister Modi must also reconsider and repeal CAA ‘without further delay’.”
The CAA was notified on December 12, 2019, and came into force with effect from January 10, 2020. After the CAA was passed by Parliament, widespread protests were witnessed in different parts of the country. The CAA is aimed at granting Indian citizenship to persecuted minorities like Hindus, Sikhs, Jains, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan but Muslims do not find a mention.