Members of at least 57 Muslim families were converted to Hinduism at a ceremony called ‘Purkhon ki ghar vapsi’, a mass conversion jointly organized by Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag, an offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), and Bajrang Dal in Agra on Monday.
RSS regional head Rajeshwar Singh said more than 200 Muslims were “brought back to Hinduism” in the mass event held in Madhunagar area of the city.
According to organizers, the converts will soon be given new names.
Talking to TOI, Singh claimed that around 5,000 more Muslims and Christians will be “brought back into Hindu fold” in Aligarh on this Christmas. “The grand event will be held at Maheshwari College in Aligarh,” he said, daring anyone to stop it.
With saffron flags hoisted on rooftops of makeshift houses in this slum cluster, and matras being recited by priests, members of as many as 57 Muslim families washed feet of Hindu idols to mark their return to the religion. Long vermillion marks were put on their foreheads and they were given Prasad to eat.
Later, RSS and Bajrang Dal activists gave them a ‘mantra’ to chant the whole day and prepared a list of all the ‘converts’, to get their voter IDs and Aadhaar cards made, with their new names.
Sharifa, 40, was seen debating the right way of performing an aarti with her daughter-in-law, Afsha, in a small temple that has been erected by RSS men in the slum in Madhunagar. An idol of goddess Kali has also been placed in the temple, as majority of people living in the area hail from West Bengal.
Sufia Begum,76, who is the oldest woman among the converts, told TOI: “I read Quran and offered namaz five times a day. Now at this age, I will read Ganesh aarti. I don’t find any major difference in the teachings of the two religions.”
“The RSS people assured us that they will provide us better place to live, better food and schooling for my grandsons. I don’t mind change of religion, as religion doesn’t give us food to eat.”
Rajeshwar Singh told TOI that RSS spends Rs 50 lakh every month on conversion of an average 1,000 families. “It spends Rs 8-10 lakh per month on fuel costs alone in west UP,” he added.
“We have re-converted 2.73 lakh Muslims and Christians in Braj region that includes Agra, Fatehpur Sikri, Mathura, Firozabad, Etah, Meerut, Mainpuri and Uttarakhand since 2003. The upcoming mass re-conversion event in which some 5,000 Muslims and Christians will be brought back into Hindu fold will be headed by Yogi Adityanath on December 25 in Aligarh,” Singh said.
Singh also claimed that RSS has taken possession of as many as 60 churches across the state, where no Christians worship now, “as they have all been re-converted to Hinduism”.
“Ek din in girijagharo ki deewarein bhi gir jayengi aur hamara desh sirf hinduon ka hoga (one day these churches will crumble and our country will belong to the Hindus alone),” he added.
Ajju Chauhan, the Bajrang Dal leader who zeroed in on the slum in Madhunagar and organized the mass re-conversion event, was overwhelmed after the puja. More than three dozen RSS and Bajrang Dal members were guarding the pandal to avoid any untoward incident.
Talking to TOI, Aslam Qureishi, prominent Sunni leader of the city, said, “This is just a tactic of the RSS to misguide Muslims.”