Coming down heavily on the propaganda unleashed by Christian forces against the organisation of Shabari Kumbha in Dang, Gujarat, from February 11 to 13, Shri Mohan Joshi, central secretary of Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), has termed the opposition of the event and allegation for conversion against VHP, Bajarang Dal, etc. by V.V. Augustine, member of National Commission for Minorities, as totally baseless, beyond facts and truth and complete with malice. He said the three-day event was nothing but a pure religious function held for renovation of a temple of historical figure Shabarimata. ?All the Hindus have great respect for and faith in Shabarimata. Describing the assembly of lakhs of Vanvasis, discourses by reputed Hindu saints and participation of Hindu leaders in the function at such a holy place for construction of a temple as anti-constructional, reflects the narrow feeling of Shri Augustine,? Shri Joshi said in a statement issued in New Delhi on January 17.
Shabari Kumbha is not for conversion but a simple religious affair.
He said a katha was delivered by noted saint Murari Bapu at the same place about two years back and the decision to construct a temple was taken with his inspiration. He said discourses by various Hindu saints had been organised there at different times in which people from Dang and its adjoining areas had been participating. ?Fact is that even after Independence, the Christian organisations have been converting Hindu janjatis adopting all unfair means. The false dreams shown by Christian missionaries and the commitments they had made for their development were never fulfilled. Instead they were discriminated at all fronts and were treated like bonded-labours. But during the last 20 years an awareness has developed in the area that also exposed the evil designs of Christian missionaries and it has now become difficult for the missionaries to work in the region. In such a situation it should not be surprising for anyone that the local people who due to allurement or some other unfair means had gone away from their roots, are now spontaneously coming forward to return to their original roots. Angered with these developments, Shri Augustine by writing a letter to the Union Home Minister is not only trying to develop misconceptions among people about the Shabari Kumbha, but is also trying to cover up the separatist and anti-national activities of the missionaries. Fact is that no forced conversion activity is going to take place at the Kumbha. It is the very old tradition of Hindu society to hoist saffron flags during the religious or any other auspicious occasions. It is not for creating fear in any community. We appeal to the central government and the people of the country that they should not be misguided by any propaganda. We also invite the people of the country to participate in the Shabari Kumbha in large number. We should not forget that the Ramayana or any other religious book of India does not have anything against the followers of other religions. The ancestors of Indian Christians were also Hindus. Therefore, the Hindu organisations will not object if Shri Augustine along with other Christians participate in the event,? Shri Joshi said in the statement.