Local Hindus have prevented an illegal mass Christian conversion event being carried out in a residential building in Maratha Colony in Karnataka’s Belagavi district on Sunday.
The protesters said that as many as 200 people, including women and children from rural backgrounds, were put up in the building on the pretext of mass prayer for the purpose of religious conversion.
Before the police reached the spot, many participating in the ‘mass prayer’ left the spot. The angry protesters locked the remaining people in a room, who were allowed to leave only after the police arrived.
The local Hindus said that religious conversions take place in the building every Sunday on the pretext of mass prayers. About 20 policemen have been stationed near the building as a precautionary measure.
Karnataka – next major target of Christian conversion mafia
The Christian missionary mafia has deepened its tentacles in Karnataka, with a spate of incidents coming to light recently in which conversion agents were found violating the sanctity of local communities and their Hindu religious beliefs. The strategy and tactics which these Western-funded missionary organizations use to target Hindus were analyzed in this depth in this article.
In Hubballi, a pastor was found carrying out mass conversions which were disrupted by Hindus. Another such session was stopped in North Karnataka. In Udupi, a couple and two others were arrested after a relative of theirs complained that they abused his religion and tried to convert him forcibly.
In Saidapura villege in Yadgiri district, North Karnataka, villagers protested against Christian conversion by organizing a voluntary bandh. Mathadhipatis (Hindu religious leaders) demanded a law banning religious conversion. It was reported that a local pastor had threatened villagers for objecting to conversions. Many a times, crypto-converts, who fraudulently retain their Hindu SC status, file complaints under SC/ST Act against poor Hindus who refuse to get converted.
In what comes as a ray of hope for fighting these rampant Christian missionary conversions that use anti-Hindu bigotry, brainwashing and allurements for their ‘soul harvesting’, the Karnataka government has acknowledged the issue and has been considering to bring in an anti-conversion law to stop the menace.
Hosadurga BJP MLA Goolihatti Shekhar, raising the issue during zero hour in the assembly, said religious conversions by force or through inducement have become rampant in the state, quoting the example of his own mother.
Claiming that religious conversions were rampant in the state, Shekhar said 15,000 to 20,000 people have been converted in his constituency and his own mother has converted to Christianity.
He said under the anti-superstition law certain religious practices among Hindus in rural areas have been banned, while certain Christian missionaries and Churches are luring innocent people and those ill to visit their religious places, with an assurance to cure their diseases, where they are brainwashed.
Quoting an example of his own mother, the MLA said, “she was taken to their (Christian) religious places stating that good things will happen to her. Where she was told not to wear kumkum (vermilion), have the photos of (Hindu) gods or religious items. She was brainwashed and sent back. After coming home my mother is systematically following it to the extent that her ring tone is also Christian songs.”
“We have even lost the opportunity to worship our gods in our village. If we try to convince my mother against it, she threatens to end her life. This is the pain I’m personally going through,” the MLA added.
Nagthan MLA Devanand Fulasing Chavan also raised concern over the conversion mafia, saying Vijayapura is home to 3.5 lakh people belonging to the Banjara community. “Churches are coming up there and people are being converted in tandas, which is leading to the division of the community,” he said.
MLA Shekar later organised a Ghar wapsi programme in his constituency in which many families were brought back to Hindu religion. His mother, who had embraced Christianity, also returned to Hindu Dharma.
Apart from mulling an anti-conversion law along the lines introduced by UP and few other states recently, the Karnataka Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Department has also asked officers to survey both official and non-official Christian missionaries, churches and Bible societies operating within the state.
However, these simple steps to safeguard social harmony and religious rights of Hindus have been vehemently opposed by both the Protestant body, Church of South India, and Roman Catholic Church, headed in Karnataka by Bangalore Archbishop Peter Machado. Both Church organizations cited the schools, colleges, and hospitals run and managed by the Christian community to question why Christians are being ‘targeted’.
But these mainstream Christian religious bodies completely side-stepped the issue at hand – mass conversions using anti-Hindu bigotry, superstitions like quack healing, and other inducements by evangelicals, most of whom are unregistered, and in violation of several laws including FCRA. It is believed that 40% of the churches operating in Karnataka are not officially recognised. Such defensive reactions indicate that the facade of social work by mainstream Churches is used to cover up for the aggressive proselytization work by the more rabid and bigoted evangelical outfits.
Last heard, Karnataka government had put on hold the survey proposal, and is waiting for the verdict of the state High Court on a PIL in this regard.