The number is inflated to be in the good books of the pro-Hindu government in Uttar Pradesh, they allege
Catholics from Delhi archdiocese pray during the Palm Sunday on April 9, 2017. (Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj)
Christian leaders have refuted a Hindu group's claim that it converted more than 300 Christians to Hinduism in northern Uttar Pradesh state, where a sweeping anti-conversion law is in force.
According to Panchjanya, the mouthpiece of the pro-Hindu Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) helped 310 Christians from 36 families to reconvert to Hinduism in Sarsara village in Jaunpur in Uttar Pradesh on Nov. 5.
Hindus who once came under pressure or greed to become Christians are now back to the Sanatan Dharma (Hindu religion), the weekly quoted the Hindu council as saying.
Uttar Pradesh-based Pastor Dinesh Kumar said they are "aware of the reconversion in Jaunpur but the number given by the group is not correct. They have exaggerated it to get the attention of the government."
The actual number is less than 30, Kumar told UCA News on Nov. 9.
The Hindu groups' claim that those who attended the ceremony converted to Christianity decades ago also is not correct because "there are no official documents to prove that,” the pastor observed.
According to the Panchjanya, the Christians opted for the “homecoming” and went through the “purification” process before they recanted their faith.
Christian activist Minakshi Singh asked the Hindu groups to substantiate their claims with valid proof.
The Hindu council spearheads a nationwide re-conversion campaign under the banner Ghar Vapsi (homecoming).
The Panchjanya said people who understood the “greatness and importance of the Sanatan Dharma” returned to Hinduism.
The Hindu groups justify converting people to Hinduism saying they do not violate the law on conversions because they are involved in "re-conversion" and not "conversion."
However, those embracing Christianity are accused of getting "converted” and criminal cases are filed under the anti-conversion law against Christians, Church leaders said.
Conversion is a ploy to attack Christians, they noted.
Reconversion activities are part of the agenda of the Hindu groups closely linked to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party in Uttar Pradesh, which enacted the draconian anti-conversion law in 2020, Kumar added.
The anti-conversion law bans religious conversion by use of misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement, or fraudulent means or by marriage.
The New Delhi-based United Christian Forum (UCF), an ecumenical body that records persecutions across the country, has recorded 155 incidents of violence against Christians in Uttar Pradesh during the first six months of this year.
During the same period, a total of 400 incidents of persecution against Christians were recorded in the country, said UCF.
Christians make up 0.18 percent of Uttar Pradesh's 200 million population.
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