The VHP’s Faizabad president Arvind Mishra said the conversions will take place on February 6 on the occasion of the Vishwa Hindu Sammelan, an event being organised at several places around the country to mark the 50th anniversary of VHP’s foundation.
“There are a large number of Muslims in and around Faizabad who want to become Hindu,” Mishra told Scroll.in over the phone. “We have decided to organise a ghar wapsi ceremony for them at the venue of the Vishwa Hindu Sammelan. A havan [sacrificial fire] will be lit and holy Ganga water sprinkled on the converts. They will then be taught how to worship Hindu gods and goddesses.”
Faizabad is only 14 km from Ayodhya, the town in which the VHP, the Bharatiya Janata Party and other associates of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh organised a campaign to demolish the Babri Masjid in 1992. The destruction of the shrine sparked brutal riots against Muslims in Ayodhya, Faizabad and across India.
No specific knowledge
The Deputy Superintendent of Police (Local Intelligence Unit) in Faizabad, KC Tripathi denied having any specific information about the VHP’s plan. “But since rumours are doing the rounds, we have deputed intelligence personnel on the job,” he said. “I hope no such incident will take place here.”
Last week, RSS affiliates had converted 57 Muslim families to Hinduism in Agra in what they called a “ghar wapsi” programme.
Founded in 1964, the VHP is celebrating its golden jubilee over the course of the year. The celebrations, which began with a meeting of sadhus and Sangh Parivar leaders in Mumbai in August, will end with a Sant Sammelan (conference of sadhus) at the Kumbh Mela in Nashik in September.
Apart from meetings and prayers, the VHP has planned a series of “world Hindu conferences” in several parts of the country. The one at Faizabad is scheduled to be held on February 6.
Identities are secret
Mishra, who is also Poorvanchal president of the Hindu Jagaran Samiti (an offshoot of the VHP), said most senior leaders of the VHP and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh are likely to attend the event in Faizabad, at which VHP hardliner Pravin Togadia will be the chief guest.
He refused to reveal the identities of the people who he claimed want to convert to Hinduism. “Most of these Muslims originally belonged to one or the other Dalit castes and got converted to Islam sometime back,” he said. “We are in constant touch with them. But we cannot reveal their identity because the local administration may stop them from embracing Hinduism.”
Khaliq Ahmad Khan, a Faizabad resident and an executive member of the All India Milli Council (a pan-India body of Muslim leaders) said the RSS and its affiliates want to “create tension in society”. “They won the Lok Sabha election by selling a dream to ordinary voters but have miserably failed to deliver it,” he said. “Now they are using religion to divert people’s attention from their failure.”
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