Hindu politician calls for stop to religious conversions in India

An extremist Indian political leader has called for a stop to religious conversions in his country, other those than to Hinduism.

At a rally in Bhopal, Ashok Singhal of the fundamentalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), also called for Hindu families to have at least five children each.

This is to stop them becoming outnumbered by Christians and Muslims in India, he said.

Singhal warned that unless conversions were stopped, Hindus will be a minority in India.

About 80 per cent of India’s 1 billion people are believed to be Hindu.

Singhal’s remarks drew criticisms from government and faith spokespeople.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews that the “fascism of groups like the VHP” must be condemned as it endangers Indian democracy and secularism.

George said Indian Christians just want to enjoy their constitutional rights of freedom of worship, and the practice and dissemination of their faith.

He said religious freedom is a basic human right.

The VHP promotes a nationalist ideology centred on Hinduism. This ideology aims for the establishment of a Hindu nation.

So-called anti-conversion laws have been adopted in some states ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which embodies the ideas of groups like the VHP.

In theory, these measures should prohibit any conversions by force or through money, AsiaNews reports.

In practice, they are often used to persecute minorities, the news agency stated.



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