- In Tripura, 96 people were forcibly converted in the past claimed the VHP
- Those "reconverted" are from tribal communities working in tea estates
- Mass conversion camp was organised on Sunday at Unakoti district
Ninety-six Christians belonging to 23 tribal families were converted to Hinduism in Tripura on Sunday, right-wing group Hindu Jagran Manch has claimed. The people were mostly labourers from Jharkhand and Bihar who had been forcibly converted in the past, says the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), which apparently oversaw the mass conversion at Unakoti, around 150 km from state capital Agartala.
"These people were originally Hindus and were forced to become Christians in past, and the conversions took place according to their wish," a VHP supporter told NDTV.
Those who were "reconverted", in what right-wing groups call "gharwapsi" or homecoming, are tea estate workers who belong to the Orao and Munda tribal communities of Jharkhand and Bihar. Hindu Jagran Manch activists alleged that some people "took advantage of the illiteracy and poverty" of tribals and converted them to Christianity.
A week ago, Home Minister Rajnath Singh, at an event called 'The Festival of Peace' in New Delhi, had expressed concern over mass conversions and had also called for a debate. "Whether we win or lose... we will not discriminate among people," Mr Singh had said at a function organised by a Christian body. He said he supported freedom to follow any religion.
"I have never discriminated on the basis of caste, creed and religion in my life. Whether or not we get votes, we will never discriminate among people. This is what our prime minister also feels," Mr Singh had said.
"I would also say one thing to the Christian community. We do not want to level allegations against anybody. If somebody wants to accept a religion, he should do that. There should not be any objection to it. But if mass conversion starts happening, large number of people start changing their religion, then it could be a matter of concern," said the home minister.