Mumbai (AsiaNews) – At least 6,000 Christians reconverted to Hinduism because of the work of Swami Narendra Maharaj. The ceremony of their re-conversion was held yesterday in Thane, a place some 50 kilometres from Mumbai (Maharashtra). In the recent past, the same group celebrated the return of thousands of Christian converts to Hinduism.
Led by Guru Narendra Maharaj, the group’s mission is to help people reconversion to Hinduism. Twice a year, it organizes large-scale ceremonies for the return to India’s traditional religion.
A spokesman for the group said that with the latest 6,000 the total number of re-conversions now stands at 94,000. He predicts that “within two years, the figure of 100,000 would be reached.”
This trend is strong in suburban Mumbai where the Swami Narendra Maharaj’s followers are supported by various other organizations that seek out and identify the people to reconvert.
For the spokesman, converts “are wretched men converted to Christianity by force” who go back to Hinduism “without compulsion or guarantee.”
Many Hindu groups accuse Christian Churches of carrying out forced conversions by providing economic incentives or through brainwashing. So far, no complaint has ever been taken to court. Such accusations do however provide justification for ceremonies like the one in Thane.
Christians are charged by police under Sections 153A and 295A of the Indian Penal Code. Section 153A refers to “promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony.” Section 295A concerns “deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings.”
In States like Madhya Pradesh and Orissa as well as in Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Gujarat, there are anti-conversion laws that require would-be converts to go before public authorities to motivate their decision to change religion and demonstrate that they are not being forced to convert.
In cases of Hindus converting to Christianity, the law is respected to the letter, and is often used to prevent conversion.