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Home / India News / 2007 / May 2007 / May 8, 2007
Christians say attack on Kolhapur missionaries politically motivated(Lead: Christ)
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Vishwa Hindu Parishad

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Christians say attack on Kolhapur missionaries politically motivated(Lead: Christ)

Christians in Maharashtra today condemned the attack on two missionaries by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists for alleged forced conversion, saying the move was politically motivated.

Kolhapur (Maharashtra), May 8 : Christians in Maharashtra today condemned the attack on two missionaries by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) activists for alleged forced conversion, saying the move was politically motivated.

"We condemn this act of violence because everyone has a right to follow his religion. They were just preaching love and tolerance towards everyone," said Samsung, a Christian missionary.

"They would have just baptised them according to the Christian traditions. But this whole incident is politically motivated. So, we condemn this act. All religions have a right to co-exist here," added Rev. Mohan Vaghmare.

The attackers claimed that the priests converted six villagers from Ichalkarnji of Kolkahar town without their consent. They beat up the priests and dragged them through the streets.

"As soon as we found out in the evening that religious conversions were taking place, we rushed to Shahpur to find out what exactly had happened. On enquiring, we found out the poor people were being converted without their knowledge. They were taken to a nearby river where they were bathed and baptised," said Bal Maharaj, an activist of the VHP.

Police, however, refused to comment on the incident.

Religious conversions have been a bone of contention for radical Hindus, with activists belonging to different outfits resorting to violence to deter people.

In several states like Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh, the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has introduced or strengthened laws to stop what it says forced conversions, mainly by Christian missionaries.

Under new laws, anyone planning to leave the Hindu fold must obtain certificates from officials and affidavits from courts, stating they were converting out of free will.

ANI

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