Last week, a pamphlet of an alleged spiritual gathering called ‘New Life in Christ’ organized by a Christian missionary was circulated in and around the Sankadibari village in Naswadi taluka of Chhota Udepur district and in the surrounding villages in Gujarat. When the local Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists knew about the conversion of Hindu tribals, they petitioned the Tehsildar of Naswadi to stop the program. The VHP had warned that if the program was not cancelled, they would go to the same place with more than 2,000 workers and perform the Hanuman Chalisa and Ramdhun, after which the event, which was to be held without police permission, was cancelled.
According to the leaflet, a conversion program titled ‘New Life in Christ’ was to be organized by the Christian missionary on May 9 and May 10 at the Sankadibari village of Naswadi taluka. Rev. G. Samuel and Brother Vinubhai were the main speakers addressing the program. The event was strongly opposed by local Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal activists fearing the conversion of gullible Hindu tribals. About 20 activists led by Vishal Kumar Suresh Chandra Jaiswal, president of VHP Naswadi, went to the Seva Sadan office in Naswadi and appealed to the Tehsildar. Later the PI of Naswadi police station was also informed by the VHP activists.
The Hindu religious leaders of the District of Junagadh also protested against the Naswadi Mamlatdar and the Naswadi police officer and demanded the cancellation of the programme.
In an exclusive conversation with OpIndia, Vishal Jaiswal said, “We came to know about the event on May 6 through a pamphlet circulating in the area. In the past, similar programs have taken place in this border tribal area, in which in the end, gullible Hindu tribals were lured and converted to Christianity. Therefore, we immediately gave a written request to the taluka mamlatdar to stop the program on the 7th itself.”
Vishal Jaiswal said, “There have been such gatherings by Christian missionaries in the past in which the gullible tribals are converted in the name of miracles during the day and at the same place at night, there is a smell of alcohol and meat.”
Conversion of Hindus in the name of miracles
Replying to a question on how the missionaries carry out the conversion, Vishal Jaiswal said, “Whenever such a gathering is to take place, the local agents of the missionaries go out to survey the surrounding tribal areas. In whichever village they visit, they make a list of who has common ailments like cough, cold fever headache in which house and who has been ill for three or more days, etc. The agents then invite such families to such an event and say that their illness will be cured by a miracle there. These common diseases, which are in fact naturally cured in 4-5 days, are claimed to be cured by these people by giving them some adulterated powder in these programs, and by showing such alleged miracles, they trap the gullible Hindu tribals and eventually convert them.”
The conversion program was canceled due to the alertness of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad
Explaining more about the recently thwarted conversion event, he said, “When we reached out to the Tehsildar to call on the program after the program was exposed by a leaflet, it was found in an inquiry that the organizers had not even taken permission for the event. We had urged the Tehsildar as well as the local police officials that if the program was not canceled, we would reach the venue with more than 2,000 activists of the VHP and Bajrang Dal and would recite Hanuman Chalisa and Ramdhun there itself.” Jaiswal further said, “After our application, the organizers themselves canceled the gathering. Yet, as a precautionary measure, we did check at the scheduled time of the event to ensure that no such event took place.”
Vishal Jaiswal further told OpIndia that he had received full cooperation from the administration and the police in this regard due to which the missionary’s conversion program could be stopped. In this tribal area, such programs of conversion of Hindu tribals are frequent and whenever they come to know about it, they protest. Jaiswal said that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad will never allow to carry out such misdeeds and will always oppose them and will stand in the front to protect Hindu tribal brothers and sisters.
This is not the first time that an incident involving the conversion of Hindu tribals by Christian missionaries has come to light in Gujarat. Such incidents have been reported several times in the border areas of south Gujarat in the past. A month ago, five members of the same Christian family were arrested in connection with a similar conversion in the Tapi district.