Gujarat: 144 tribals 'reconverted' to Hinduism in Dang
As many as 144 members of a tribal community who had embraced Christianity many years ago were converted back to Hinduism in Bhogadiya village of Waghai taluka in Dang district, a religious leader said.
The event on Friday was organised by Gujarat unit of Agniveer organisation. Sadhvi Yashoda Didi was the chief guest at the event.
“We came to know that many tribals were made to embrace Christianity many years ago. Many of them expressed interest to convert back to Hinduism. So, we organised this programme for them. Out of 144 who converted to Hinduism, 60 are from Bhogadiya village while the rest are from neighbouring villages. We will continue organising such programmes in coming days,” Gujarat president of Agniveer organisation, Neha Patel said.
Talking to the Indian Express, Sadhvi Yashoda Didi said, “We have not forced anybody to change their religion. Since long the Christian missionaries are converting Hindu tribals into Christianity. We will continue holding similar drives to bring more tribal Christians back to Hinduism.”
A `yajna’ (sacred fire) was organised during the conversion programme.
One of the tribals who converted to Hinduism, Ramu Chaudhary said, “I embraced Christianity around eight years ago. I was very sick at that time and the missionary people took good care of me. After I was cured, I converted into Christianity. Now I realise that since my ancestors were Hindu, why remain a Christian? Besides, our religion in government records is Hindu. There are a lot more people in Dangs who are following Christian religion but in government records they have mentioned themselves as Hindu.”
When asked about the conversion, CNI church head pastor in Ahwa taluka of Dangs district, Augustine Rajwadi said, “We have been working for the development of the tribals by giving them better education, health services. Out of total population of Dangs district (around 2.35 lakh), around 30 per cent are Christians. We have come to know about the conversion programme by Agniveer organisation in Bhogadiya village on Friday. As per our information, not all the 144 people were from the same village. We will verify the claims and send our teams to get more information.”
Dangs District Superintendent of Police Shweta Shrimali said, “We had sent our team to the venue. No complaints have been registered against anybody. We will probe if the conversion happened voluntarily.”