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Fr. Anand Muttungal, PRO & Spokesperson Catholic Church, Madhya
Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, has taken strong exception to the highly
controversial speech on “Mass Illegal Conversions” made by Rajnath
Singh, the national president of Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), here
Fr. Anand Muttungal in a strongly
worded letter to Rajnath on Wednesday said: “You did not have any
attractive slogan to draw the support of Hindus to the next
electoral battle. So, now you have chosen to incite Hindus by
raising the slogan of conversion”.
He drew Rajnath’s attention to the
Constitution of India which gives freedom of religion, freedom of
speech and freedom of expression. It means also the freedom to
change and embrace any religion or any ideology, he inferred.
“Let us uphold the Constitution of our
Country or else it will weaken the foundation of our country which I
love perhaps as much as you love it”, Fr. Anand appealed Rajnath..
The copy of the letter has been
dispatched to National office-bearers, state presidents of BJP and
Ministers of Madhya Pradesh along with a copy of the paper cuttings
wherein the controversial speech was published.
It may be mentioned here that Rajnath
made the said speech on 28th of last month on the occasion of “Amrit
Mahotsav” (75th Birthday), celebration of former Rajya Sabha member
Kailash Sarang which was organized to honour the senior leader for
the service he had rendered to the BJP from the time of Jan Sangh
days. Fr. Anand had himself attended that function and was witness
to the rabble rousing speech of Rajnath Singh.
The people present at the programme
were invited by the organizers of the event. They came from
different religions, belonging to various organizations and
professions. The programme was not to discuss the issue of dangers
to Hindu society in the country. Almost all the speakers restricted
their speeches in referring to the qualities of Sarangh and also
enumerating his contribution to the Jan Sangh and then to the BJP.
The All India Congress Committee general secretary and former Madhya
Pradesh Chief Minister Digvijay Singh, a sole non–BJP speaker, was
also one of the speakers who made an excellent non-political
speeches which was applauded by the audience.
Fr. Anand pointed that in the initial
part of his speech he said: “due to mass illegal conversions, the
affairs in North East is worrisome, 30 per cent of the tribal
population in Chhattisgarh and Jharkhand have changed their
religion”. If there is some truth in what you say then it is not a
worrisome sign for you alone but for the whole country. So it will
be at the best interest of our country to ascertain all facts
related to illegal conversions. We must take the service of all
means possible including RTI Act in this regard. It will also be at
its best if before deploring conversion; it will be very interesting
to find out the cause of why people are changing their religion.
Rajnath in his speech had also claimed
that “using all illegal means systematically conversion is carried
out en-masse, if needed we have to amend the constitution to stop
and we will support this.”
Fr. Anand said if conversion is too
dangerous to the stability and integrity, then BJP should have taken
the step to ban it when you were in power for six years.
You said: “if anybody gets converted
into religions of Indian origin then it is alright. The foreigners
are using religion to infiltrate into India and vitiate the Indian
culture. There is threat to internal security due to conversion. No
country in the world will allow conversion in this way….”
“I am tempted to say that you have no
much knowledge about the religious conversions going on around the
world. There are large numbers of foreigners joining Hinduism, Islam
etc. There are no restrictions in the Christian majority countries
against conversion. If you feel that conversion into non-Indian
religion cause internal security, it will be very kind of you if you
can specify in the case of Christians to which country will they pay
allegiance because there are many countries with Christian majority,
the letter said.
Fr. Anand said Christians have been
serving the country with full dedication in the field of education,
health and community development. “There are many persons in BJP who
have been educated and associated with us, every year they approach
for recommendation too for admission. If your argument to be
believed then you may check their credentials and activities since
they are associated and educated in our institutions”, he urged.
“You also promised to build Ram Mandir
at Ayodhya but you did not carry out that promise too in the long
tenure of your government. So, my charge is that you use this
promises to create vote bank and try to capture power. Even your
leader L K Advani publicly accepted that we came to power because of
Ram Mandir agitation. Thus it is clear that you used all these
promises to betray them. This you did in Ram Mandir, while keeping
the issue of Article 370 in Kashmir and also formulating a uniform
civil code on the backburner”, the letter stated.
Fr. Anand said: “Let us look for the
record of your party in Madhya Pradesh. The members of your party,
Bajrang Dal members and many supported organizations have given
sleepless nights to Christians in Madhya Pradesh since November 2003
when it came to power. Every now and then churches, prayer centres,
individuals, Christian educational institutions etc. are subjected
to brutal attacks by anti-social elements. And the BJP Government
have not done anything concrete to stop them.
“Then you tried to bring a new law to
regulate conversion but the president on the advice of Attorney
General has sent back calling it unconstitutional. So, please stop
making baseless and unsound allegations”, Fr. Anand appealed.