Bhubaneswar: Tensions erupted in Tangardihi village of Sundargarh District over a Christian missionary’s regular visit and conversion attempt. For one year, the villagers repeatedly advised him not to come to their village to convert people, but he refused to listen to them. So on September 26, angry Villagers forced him to write an affidavit that he would never come to that area again.
“One Christian preacher Mahendra Sahu from Rengali area used to come to our village regularly for one year. His only intention was to convert our people in to Christianity. All the villagers objected to his visit to our village. So we advised him not to come to our village. But he did not listen to us. On September 26, our villagers lost patience and called a meeting. Villagers asked Mahendra Sahu to give a written bond that he will never come to our village and block in the future,” a villager of Tangardihi village said.
Sundrgarh unit of VHP demanded strict implementation of the Odisha freedom of religion act 1967 to avoid such a situation.
“There is already an act in Odisha. The Orissa Freedom of Religion Act, 1967, provides that no person shall convert or attempt to convert, either directly or otherwise, any person from one religious faith to another by the use of force or by inducement or by any fraudulent means. But unfortunately, the act is not being implemented properly by the state Govt. So we demand strict implementation of OFRA act,” said Rama Chandra Naik, Organising Secretary, VHP, Sundargarh.
It may be noted that tribal-dominated Sundargarh District has always been the Christian Missionary target for conversion activities.