On Sunday (September 26), a Christian priest was detained by a group of villagers over charges of forced conversion, reported Organiser. The incident took place in Tangardihi village in the Sundargarh district of Odisha.
The priest, identified as Mahendra Sahu, was a regular visitor to the Tangardihi village. According to the villagers, he would come to the village in a bid to convert Hindus to Christianity. Despite their refusal, Sahu went unabated about his proselytism. He continued to visit the village and attempt to lure others to his religion. On Sunday, the villagers caught him and made him write an affidavit, stating that he would never return to Tangardihi.
A villager recounted, “His only intention was to convert our people into Christianity. All the villagers objected to his visit to our village. So we advised him not to come to our village. But he did not listen to us. On September 26, our villagers lost patience and called a meeting. Villagers asked Mahendra Sahu to give a written bond that he will never come to our village and block in the future”. The Organiser reported that Sundargarh has been the prime target of Christian evangelists.
Anti-conversion law not being implemented in Odisha, alleges VHP
This is despite the fact that the State of Odisha has an anti-conversion law named Odishan Freedom of Religion Act, 1967. While speaking about the matter, VHP Secretary (Sundargarh) Rama Chandra Naik said, “The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967, provides that no person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means. But unfortunately, the act is not being implemented properly by the state Govt.”