The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has claimed of receiving complaints of an increase in forced religious conversions of tribals by the Christian missionaries and Churches in the State of Jharkhand during the lockdown period. The outfit has also alleged that ever since the JMM/Congress government headed by Hemant Soren came to power, religious conversion has gained momentum in the state. However, in the past few months this illegal act has gone up during lockdown, it said.
Amidst these allegations, a video has surfaced in which a tribal man, who was forced to adopt Christianity a year ago, is seen regretting and yearning to reconvert back to Hinduism.
In the video which was shared with OpIndia by VHP’s Bihar and Jharkhand in-charge, Keshav Raju (Bihar-Jharkhand), a Santhali tribal man identified as Ramesh Hansda, a resident of Sopodera village in Parasudih district, Jamshedpur is heard narrating how a year back his family was lured by a Christian priest to embrace Christianity.
Christian priest insisted on cooking and eating cow-meat
Ramesh confirmed that during those days he was physically weak and was unable to work. A Christian priest had then visited his house and tried to convince him to embrace Christianity. The pastor tried to lure him and his family by offering good food and money. He said that on the instructions of the priest, a boy brought him one and a half kgs of cow meat and said that they would party. Looking at Ramesh’s wife he asked her to cook the meat, to which his wife had refused, recollected Ramesh.
“Only after my wife vehemently refused to indulge them did those people leave”, said Ramesh. He said that the priest kept nagging him for almost two years, saying that he would help him financially if Ramesh agreed to embrace Christianity.
Ramesh wants Ghar-wapsi
Saying this, Ramesh, confirmed that whatever help he was being provided, stopped after a while. He is now being given nothing. During the entire lockdown period, Ramesh claimed that his family received very little ration a couple of times, but it stopped after that. He said that he and his family do not visit the church. He expressed his desire to renounce Christianity and re-convert to Hinduism.
VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad) District Minister Janardan Pandit of Jamshedpur district spoke to Ramesh Hansda when he came to know that Ramesh wanted to renounce Christianity and return to his Hinduism.
Speaking to OpIndia Janardan Pandit said: “Ramesh’s family belongs to a poor tribal society and they are economically very backward. Taking advantage of this situation, the Christian clergy lured Ramesh on the pretext of treatment and got him to embrace Christianity”.
Janardan Pandit said that the clergy had been trying to lure Ramesh’s family for a long time, but Ramesh never went to church. Today he regrets his conversion and wants to return to Hinduism again.
Notably, on Sunday, during the press conference, VHP Kshetra Sangathan Mantri, Keshav Raju had claimed that as Jharkhand is a tribal state, such exploitations and forced conversions are rampant across the state, but in districts such as Gumla, Loharadaga, Khunti, West and East Singhbhum this is accute. He furthered that the agents of the Church go from village to village and spew venom against the Hindus.
He confirmed that VHP has been in relentless pursuit and has been collecting data of these agents of various Churches, who are luring the poor and innocent tribals into embracing Christianity with the promise of money. Keshav Raju stated that once the list was ready it would be handed over to the state administration and they would be pressurised to take appropriate action to clamp down on this religious conversion business.