‘New Shuddhi movement: Will free villages of Christians’
“Hindu mahilaon ka apmaan, nahi sahenge, nahi sahenge, (We will not tolerate the humiliation of Hindu women)”a handful of well-dressed city dwellers who descended on Sarawa village, 60 km east of Delhi, shouted outside the tumbledown house of a 20-year old girl who was allegedly raped and forcibly converted to Islam. Rakhi Tyagi, who led the women, said she was the Uttar Pradesh state general secretary of the Mahila Morcha, the women’s wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
According to a police complaint filed on August 3, the girl was abducted, kept in custody and raped by several men before being converted to Islam. Allegations are yet to be ascertained, said Alok Sharma, Inspector General of Police. “Only the girl can tell us truth, and whatever she says would be deemed true. The problem occurs when she gives contradictory versions.”
Ambiguities in the girl’s and her parents’ accounts of the incidents may impede the investigation but not the politics fuelled by the fact that the girl is a Hindu and the accused are Muslims. Dr Chandramohan, spokesperson of the UP State BJP, surrounded by several other party leaders at his home, told The Hindu, “This is part of a global love jihad that targets vulnerable Hindu girls who are entrapped and forced to convert to Islam. The BJP will oppose forced conversions and intervene on behalf of the victims,” he said, adding that social organisations would intensify awareness among the Hindus to be alert.
One such social organisation is (Religious Awakening), an affiliate of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS). Rajeshwar Singh, its coordinator for the western UP region told The Hindu by phone from Agra that from August 23 to September 15, there would be rallies in all districts against conversions. “This incident has brought forth the urgency of the question of conversions yet again,” he said.
Mr Singh said the “real test of strength” would be in December, when his organisation plans to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism in two separate programmes.
“On December 23, the martyrdom day of Swami Shraddhanand (the leader of the 19th century Shuddhi (re-conversion) movement) we will convert Muslims to Hinduism in at least 50 locations in west UP,” he said. “On December 25, the day when Christians convert people to their religion, this year, we will do the reverse – by converting them back to Hinduism. In two-three years, the rural hinterland will be free of Christians.” Asked how he planned to convince people to become Hindus, he said: “It will be a test of who is stronger. Hindus or them. You just wait and watch.”