Tamil Nadu, India: The MK-Stalin-led DMK Government in Tamil Nadu has filed a counter-affidavit in response to advocate Ashwini Kumar Upadhyay’s PIL before the Supreme Court seeking directions to the Government of India and State Governments to take stringent steps to control fraudulent religious conversions.
The PIL comes after Lavanya, a 17-year-old girl in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur, was forced to commit suicide for her refusal to convert to Christianity. She consumed poison on January 9, 2022, and struggled for her life in a hospital for 10 days before succumbing on January 19, 2022. However, the DMK Government has denied that the minor girl committed suicide due to compulsion to convert to Christianity.
It is pertinent to note that a DMK MLA Inigo Irudayaraj felicitated the hostel warden Sagaya Mary, accused of torturing Lavanya, with a shawl outside the Trichy Central jail after she was released on bail by the Thanjavur District Court in February 2022.
On allegations against the role of Christian missionaries and their preaching methods in order to convert people to Christianity, the DMK Government claims in their counter-affidavit, “Article 25 of the Constitution of India guarantees every citizen the right to propagate his religion. Therefore, the acts of missionaries spreading Christianity by itself cannot be seen as something against law.”
The counter-affidavit adds, “But if their act of spreading their religion is against public order, morality and health and to the other provisions of Part III of the Constitution it has to be viewed seriously.” Furthermore, it claims that “As far as Tamil Nadu is concerned, there has been no incidents of forceful conversion reported in the past many years.”
The counter-affidavit attacks the petitioner claiming that “The Writ Petition has been drafted with the sole intention to defame a particular faith by making shocking allegations without providing any supporting data or document.” It is pertinent to note that the PIL also seeks direction to investigate the root-cause into minor girl Lavanya’s suicide, amid reports that she was tortured after she refused to convert to Christianity.
Furthermore, the counter-affidavit claims, “The petitioner has chosen to quote the contents of the conversation which he alleges to have taken place between a reporter and Lavanya’s mother. There are hundreds of videos in the internet over the same subject discussing for and against Lavanya.” The counter-affidavit states, “as per the investigation done by the state police there is no concrete proof or clinching evidence to say that Lavanya committed suicide because of compulsion to convert to Christianity.”
The DMK Government claims that “the petitioner has made sweeping allegations against the DMK Government saying that the Government was determined to remove the conversion angle from the case of Lavanya’s suspicious death. The petitioner who belongs to the Bharathiya Janata Party, has attempted to convert the court proceeding into a Political fight by bringing in ideological politics into the matter. All the allegations made against the Government of Tamil Nadu are politically motivated,” in its counter-affidavit.
Furthermore, the DMK Government claims, “There are no instances of forceful conversion of religion reported in Tamil Nadu and the State has not done anything in Lavanya’s case as alleged by the petitioner,” in the counter-affidavit.
Nehemiah Push: Religious Conversion in Full Swing under DMK Rule
In Chennai, right under the nose of the DMK Government, evangelical elements have conducted a two-day conference on ‘how to increase the number of churches in unchurched villages’ and converting people to Christianity.
Since the DMK took over the mantle from AIADMK, proselytisation forces have a field day with official blessings. Organiser weekly has been bringing their nefarious activities regularly. Now the two-day conference of Christian outfits in Chennai last week showed their tenacity, openly setting a target for building churches in every nook and corner of the country where there are no prayer halls. Vision 2030 Nehemiah Push, strategic Church leaders meet in Chennai at a luxurious private hotel. The meeting held on January 10 and 11 and elaborated in-depth on achieving the targets.
The conference, attended by over 300 proselytisation agents/missionaries, resolved to build Churches in less than four lakh villages (in other words, towns where no Christians reside) to enable conversion activities to go on unhindered. According to sources and WhatsApp posts, “If four lakh means, at least one crore people have of different religions mainly Hindus have to be brought into their fold, i.e. Christianity.
If we do a back-of-the-envelope calculation, even for small hut size church or prayer hall needs roughly 20 lakhs, including land costs. To build four lakh Churches, around Rs 80,000 crores is required. To meet the 2030 target, they have to spend Rs 12,000 crores annually and per month Rs 1,000 crores. It is a whopping amount. They have to construct over 4,800 Churches monthly and 57,000 Churches annually. If they need 1,000 people per Church, they have set a target of 40 crore people to be converted.”