New Delhi: A Hindu nationalist organisation that is notorious for launching violent attacks on Indian Christians and Muslims has demanded that religious conversion be treated as a ‘heinous crime’ in India.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or World Hindu Council made the demand in a resolution passed during its closed-door executive council meeting on June 25 in Kanpur city in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh.
A VHP leader, Mohan Singh, alleged in a media report that 5,000 foreign (read Christian) priests were converting people in India, and that they were staying on tourist and business visas. Singh demanded that all the foreign missionaries be deported.
The VHP also accuses Christians of using money and “force” to convert Hindus, a charge that Christians in India deny, saying most preachers are Indian and no unfair means is used in evangelism.
The Indian Constitution allows for propagation of a religion subject to public order and morality.
Hindutva (meaning “Hinduness”) is a term coined by Vinayak Damodar Savarkar in 1923 through a pamphlet, “Hindutva: Who is a Hindu,” which claimed that the Indian subcontinent is the homeland of Hindus, and Christians and Muslims are its enemies because they came from “outside”.
The VHP also has a wing in the UK, the US and a few other countries.
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