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VHP hopes to win back Mangalore's neo-converts

Vicky Nanjappa in Mangalore | September 17, 2008 12:16 IST

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It was an issue waiting to explode. Although there was talk about forcible conversions in Karnataka, things had not taken such a drastic turn until Mangalore burnt for three days in a row. Not only Mangalore, but incidents of Hindu activists desecrating churches and places of worship were reported from Udupi, Chickmagalur and also Davangere.

According to the Bajrang Dal, nearly 15,000 people have been forced to embrace Christianity in Mangalore alone in the past one year. They said they have been watching the situation and had even warned against forcible conversions, but no one paid heed to their advice.

While the Catholics have openly condemned forcible conversions, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad has embarked upon a mission called as reconversion. The VHP claimed they have managed to re-convert at least 50,000 persons in Karnataka alone.

The VHP has set up a team that is actively involved in reconversion. This team is assigned the task of visiting the houses of persons who have converted to Christianity. They meet with these persons regularly and convince them to come back to their original faith.

Once these persons are convinced that they want to return to their original faith, then a priest from the Veerashaiva mutt visits the house and performs a ritual called as the 'Ling Dharana'. A VHP leader told that they focus more on persons who have been converted recently through inducements. Those who have embraced the religion voluntarily many years back are not the target here.

It is said that conversions are highest in the north Karnataka regions of Bijapur where the Lambanis and other tribals have been converted. Apart from this, conversions are also rampant in Mangalore and the Hyderabad-Karnataka region, according to Hindu activists.

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