The chief of a Hindu nationalist group has launched a nationwide campaign against “forcible” conversions to Christianity. In a media interview, Milind Parande, the General Secretary of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), or World Hindu Council, claimed that Hindus were being forced to convert to Christianity. “Christian missionaries are destroying the ancient culture and indigenous religion of the people,” Parande said. “The VHP will not allow this heinous conspiracy to succeed.” Every year, we bring back at least 2,000 people who have got converted.” Several Indian states have had “anti-conversion” laws, termed as Freedom of Religion Acts, for decades but no Christian has been convicted of “forcibly” converting anyone to Christianity.
Most attacks on Christians are launched under the pretext of the alleged “forcible” conversion of Hindus. According to India’s own population data, the conspiracy of mass conversions to Christianity does not hold up, says persecution watchdog International Christian Concern. “In 1951, the first census after independence, Christians made up 2.3% of India’s overall population. According to the 2011 census, the most recent census data available, Christians still only make up 2.3% of the population.” Attacks on Christians have been on the rise since Narendra Modi of the Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party took office as prime minister in 2014. Since then, incidents against Christians have increased, and Hindu radicals often attack Christians with little to no consequences,”
“The view of the Hindu nationalists is that to be Indian is to be Hindu, so any other faith, is viewed as non-Indian. At least one Christian was attacked every day last year, according to Open Doors. Any change to its statutory meaning must come from Congress, and Congress has refused to make such a change for the last 45 years. Officials had recently “called all communities and said there had been complaints about conversion,” J.A. Kanthraj, a spokesperson of the Archdiocese of Bangalore, told the Indian news channel NDTV. “People said there was no problem and no conversion was happening. But two days ago, police came without any notice and removed the statue and the stations of the cross.”
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