Indian right wing organisation defends re-conversion efforts

Vishwa Hindu Parishad members share sweets to celebrate a court ruling in 2010 regarding a mosque in Ayodhya.Photo: Reuters/Jitendra Prakash

The Indian nationalist organisation Vishwa Hindu Parishad has defended its re-conversion activities and instead called for a law to illegalise conversions from Hinduism. 

According to the Press Trust of India (PTI), the VHP's working president, Pravin Togadia, said during a gathering on Sunday to commemorate the organisation's golden jubilee that there was nothing wrong with its 'ghar wapsi' - or Hindu reconversion - efforts.

Togadia cited Article 25 of India's Constitution, which states that people can exercise "profession, practice and propagation of religion" freely.

He went on to call for the passing of a bill in Parliament that would prevent non-Hindus from converting Hindus to other religions, particularly Islam and Christianity. He claimed that, without the VHP's re-conversion activities, the Indian states of Assam, West Bengal and Kerala would soon be "devoid" of Hindus. 

The VHP is known for its practice of "ghar wapsi," in which they target non-Hindus, particularly people from the Muslim and Christian minorities for re-conversion back to Hinduism.

The organisation's Joint General Secretary Surendra Jain recently claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech on religious tolerance had actually been intended for Christians and swore to continue its "ghar wapsi" activities, as well to protest "love jihad," the practice of Muslim Indians luring young women to convert to Islam under the pretense of a romantic relationship.

VHP's International President G Raghava Reddy said during Sunday's gathering that Hindus must strive to claim 80 per cent of the country's population, and the only way to do that is to unite, the PTI reported.

"While Christians have monetary sources for conversions and Muslims have force of population, the Hindus should do a course on unity," Reddy told the gathering, before claiming that Christian congregations in India receive hundreds of pounds every year to fund their conversion activities.