IN addition to their age-old policy of conversion i.e. ?lady, paddy, hen and pen?, the Christian clergies have innovated another new formula to make their mission successful, particularly in the Vanvasi-dominated areas of western Orissa. School teachers are now being used to preach Christianity in the villages and to convert Hindus. Two such cases have been reported, unveiling the notorious praxis of conversion bid.
Koraput is one of the Vanvasi-dominated districts of Orissa, famous for its natural beauty and enriched heritage. Taking the advantage of illiteracy and poverty, the missionaries have been operating from here to convert Hindus. Though their activities have been slashed away due to the decades long vehement protests by the nationalist organisations, in the meantime they are giving a new dimension to their mission through education even by the teachers of government run schools. On May 15, news spread nook and corner of the state that the government recruited teachers of primary schools are allegedly compelling and motivating the villagers to leave Hinduism. According to the villagers, Padmanav and Sanker Bag are the natives of village Nilaguda. About 12 years back, they had been converted to Christianity. Still they were getting all the facilities meant for the Hindu Vanvasis. They even managed to collect false caste certificates, as Vanvasi Hindus. The Tahasildar of Jaypur allegedly issued the false caste certificates. Being empowered by these fake certificates, they got themselves appointed as teachers in Khairput and Doraguda, respectively.
As most of the government schools in these areas are run only in papers, they began converting people into Christianity. Distribution of Bible and Christian literature became their daily routine, for which they were getting the support of some secular leaders and the pastors of Cuttack based Catholic Church.
Protesting against this illegal act of conversion, more that 400 local Hindus organised a rally on May 15 and presented memorandum to Shri S.C. Nayak, Additional District Magistrate, Koraput to remove the two accused persons from government service and arrest them. The copy of the memorandum was also submitted to the B.D.O and District Inspector of schools of Jaypur, demanding immediate action. The concerned authorities have confirmed the news.
Another such incident occurred in Sambalpur district. In Diptipur High school under Padmapur sub-division, three Christian teachers (also got appointed showing false caste certificates) are preaching Bible among the students. The students not attending the Bible class, were denied entry to the school for that day. Even the annual worships of Goddess Saraswati and Lord Ganesh have been stopped in this school for the last 22 years. Though, all most all the students are Hindus, the Headmaster compels them to follow the path of Christianity, alleges Vishwa Hindu Parishad in a press statement. The administration is yet to take any effective measure to combat such unlawful conversion.