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PTI | Kottayam (Kerala) | 26 Dec 2014:: At least 58 persons, most of them belonging to Christian families, embraced Hinduism at two temples in the district as part of the ‘Ghar Vapsi’ (home coming) programme under the initiative of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad on Christmas day.
VHP District President Balachandran Pillai said 42 members belonging to 20 families embraced Hinduism at the Puthiyakavu Devi temple in Ponkunnam while at another function at Sri Krishna Swamy temple in Thirunakara, 16 were converted to Hinduism.
One of the person who converted is said to be a Muslim.
Mr Pillai said those who had converted had done it on their own from Vaikom, Kumarakkam and Kanjirapally.
VHP state president justice M Ramachandran, a former Kerala High Court Judge, told PTI that “neither the central committee nor the state committee had taken any decision on conversions. But we are not against anyone who comes voluntarily.”
The matter would be discussed by VHP’s central committee, which is meeting in Hyderabad from December 28 to 30, said Justice Ramachandran, who will also be participating.
In an effort at clearing the confusion, VHP state General Secretary V Mohan, later issued a statement clarifying that “noone was being forcibly converted. Those who want to convert to Hinduism on their own will, are only being helped to do so”.
On Wednesday, 11 persons had embraced Hinduism near Kayamkulam in Alappuzha district in another case of conversion since in the last week.
A group of 30 people belonging to eight families of Scheduled Caste Christians had also re-converted in the district on December 21.
Chief Minister Oommen Chandy had said on Wednesday that the situation did not warrant a government intervention.
“There is no compulsory conversion or reconversion in the state and it will not take place either. If somebody voluntarily takes any decision, what can the government do”.
Sneha Mary Koshy | NDTV | Alappuzha (Kerala) | 26 Dec 2014:: Eleven persons from three more families converted to Hinduism today in Kerala’s Alappuzha district under the initiative of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, or VHP. This is the second instance of conversion within a week in the district. On Sunday, 30 people from 11 families had undergone religious conversion.
The ceremony was held at a temple in Keyshavoor near Kayamkulam. “Some of these people’s ancestors had converted to other religion years ago,” said a local VHP leader. The converts also included three couples who had undergone inter-faith marriage, he added.
Saffron groups call these programmes “ghar-vapsi”, claiming the ancestors of such families were Hindus who had converted to other religions.
In the wake of a nationwide controversy over religious conversions over the last few weeks, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy today said no “forced conversions will work in Kerala” and that the state has always maintained a distance from this issue.
“The conversion was not compulsory,” Mr Chandy said. “If there is a need for government intervention, the government will intervene. But we don’t expect such a situation in Kerala”.
The state government had ordered an investigation into Sunday’s conversion. The preliminary investigation in the case has not found any evidence of “forceful conversion” to warrant a state intervention, sources said.
The Chief Minister’s comments came a day after Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu underscored the Centre’s position on the matter.
“The government does not have any religion. Only individuals have it,” Mr Naidu said. “And if the law is being violated by anyone, they must be booked under the law by state governments including Kerala, where the Congress still rules.”
The BJP is planning to bring in anti-conversion law across the country under which conversion by force or enticement will be punishable under law.
Dheeraj Fartode | The Hitavada | Nagpur | 25 Nov 2014:: On the issue of ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (home coming), Dr Togadia said that VHP and RSS are only doing home coming of converted Hindus and does not support any conversion. First home coming was done by Jagadguru Ramanandacharya before 700 years and 25,000 Muslims were reconverted to Hindu at Ayodhya when there was no RSS and VHP. Another mass home coming of 3 lakh Hindus was done by Swami Shraddhanand in 1920 for that he was killed. Hindus were waiting for peaceful democratic way of conversion and nobody should object to home coming, he said.