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HMK to convert 20,000 Christians to Hinduism

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  • SOCM News Bureau
    1,000 Dalit Christians to reconvert to Hinduism in TN T S SREENIVASA RAGHAVAN, TNN 13 Apr 2008 CHENNAI: Thousand members who belong to Dalit Christian
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 13, 2008
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      1,000 Dalit Christians to reconvert to Hinduism in TN
      13 Apr 2008

      CHENNAI: Thousand members who belong to Dalit Christian community
      will officially get reconverted into Hinduism on Monday in
      Tirunelveli town in a colourful function being organized by Hindu
      Monks Tamil Nadu Council.

      This event gains significance in the backdrop March 9 police
      shootout in which two people were killed when clashes broke out
      between the members of upper caste Catholics and Dalit Catholics.

      Speaking to TOI, Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK) president Arjun Sampath
      said: "185 families of Dalit Christians will formally return to
      Hinduism. All of them hail from the interior villages of Tirunelveli
      district. This event is being organized on the occasion of
      Ambedkar's birthday." HMK had earlier tried to hold the event at
      Nellayappar temple in Tirunelveli. However, the HR&CE department
      which governs the temple refused permission saying that the temple
      premises could not be used for such purposes.

      "So, we're now holding the function at Nellai Sangeetha Sabha -
      which is a private hall", Arjun said. It's learnt the function will
      start with a ganapathi homam and would be followed by prayaschitha
      yagam (atonement ritual) and sudhi chadangu (purification rite)

      "We'll purify all those who return to Hinduism by sprinkling `ganga
      theertha' and `sethu theertha.' We've specially brought waters from
      Rameshwaram sea and the Ganges for this purpose", Arjun said and
      added all of them would also be bestowed with holy Hindu names.

      Further, those who want to follow Saiva cult would be given bhasmam
      (sacred ash) and a string of rudraksha while the vaishnavite
      converts would be given namam (tilak) and a string of tulsi. The
      Dalit Christians who return to Hindu fold would also be given a
      mantra deeksha (formal initiation) both in Sanskrit and Tamil.

      HMK has also engaged the services of several notaries who would be
      present during the re-conversion function. "The members who return
      to Hindu fold will take an oath before them and sign affidavits.
      Later, we'll get the conversion certificates from Arya Samaj to get
      their names changed in the gazette", Arjun said.

      Depending on the success of this re-conversion, HMK also plans to re-
      convert 20,000 Christians in Villupuram district. "We'll take it up
      in August", Arjun said.

      India has a total 24 million Christian population. Of this Dalit
      Christians constitute 15 million while tribal Christians account for
      3 million.

      In Tamil Nadu, Dalit Christians complain of discrimination at the
      hands of upper caste Christians. They have separate burial grounds
      and seating arrangements.

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