96 Tripura Christians Converted to Hinduism. Not Against their Wish, Claims VHP

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Right-wing groups called it ‘gharwapsi’ as tea estate workers who belong to the Orao and Munda tribal communities of Jharkhand and Bihar were ‘forcibly converted to Christianity’

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UNAKOTI, TRIPURA — Ninety-six Christians belonging to 23 tribal families were converted to Hinduism in Tripura on Sunday, right-wing group Hindu Jagran Manch has claimed.

According to NDTV report, the people were mostly labourers from Jharkhand and Bihar who had been forcibly converted in the past, says the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which apparently oversaw the mass conversion at Unakoti, around 150 km from state capital Agartala.

“These people
were originally Hindus and were forced to become Christians in past, and the
conversions took place according to their wish,” a VHP supporter told
NDTV.

Those who were “reconverted”, in what right-wing groups call “gharwapsi” or homecoming, are tea estate workers who belong to the Orao and Munda tribal communities of Jharkhand and Bihar. Hindu Jagran Manch activists alleged that some people “took advantage of the illiteracy and poverty” of tribals and converted them to Christianity.

Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at an event called ‘The Festival of Peace’ in New Delhi a week ago, had expressed concern over mass conversions and had also called for a debate. “Whether we win or lose… we will not discriminate among people,” Mr Singh had said at a function organised by a Christian body. He said he supported freedom to follow any religion.

“I have never discriminated on the basis of caste, creed and religion in my life. Whether or not we get votes, we will never discriminate among people. This is what our prime minister also feels,” Mr Singh had said.

“I would also say one thing to the Christian community. We do not
want to level allegations against anybody. If somebody wants to accept a
religion, he should do that. There should not be any objection to it. But if
mass conversion starts happening, large number of people start changing their
religion, then it could be a matter of concern,” said the home minister.

It is to be noted that the BJP has its own government in Tripura, which has a substantial Christian population.

“Things have changed after the BJP came to power in Assam and Tripura and we will be increasing our presence as well as our activities so that the Hindus there can feel reassured. VHP leader Shyamji Gupta will be in charge of the campaign and leaders like Tapan Kumar Mukherjee, Dr Surya Prakash Sharma and Uma Shankar Misra will tour the states to make an assessment of the ground realities,” a senior VHP leader was quoted as saying by Deccan Chronicle.

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