Catholic leaders say reconversion claim in MP is ‘false and misleading’

(Photo: Unsplash/Gregory Hayes)

Around 184 Christians are said to have converted to Hinduism in Madhya Pradesh, according to a Hindu nationalist group, but Catholic church leaders have called this assertion "false and misleading."

On November 7, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) published a report on a reconversion ceremony in Jhabua’s Kalyanpura village, claiming that 184 Christians from 38 families and 24 villages had converted back to Hinduism.

The VHP’s claim is "totally false," according to Jhabua diocese's public relations officer, Father Rockey Shah. "Christians of all denominations are properly documented and nobody has abandoned the faith,” he remarked.

Father Shah informed UCA News that the reconversion ceremony was part of a propaganda campaign to defame Christians. He pressed the event's organisers to provide information on the people they claimed to have reconverted.

According to VPH's central working president, Alok Kumar, a special campaign to make the Jhabua district and its surrounding area "conversion free" was started on November 6 and would go through November 20.

Concerned about the district's church activities, Kumar questioned why so many churches were being built if no one was converting to Christianity. Additionally, he claimed that churches were built without proper state government approval.

Father Shah refuted these claims by stating that all the churches have official authorization and the majority of them were established even before the formation of the state. Some of them are significantly older, at least a century old.

Furthermore, the Catholic priest stated that Hindu nationalists were misleading the people about the topic of religious conversions by Christian missionaries. As is implied, he asserted, "We don't convert anyone illegally." There were no fresh believers in Jhabua. It is the second- or third-generation Christians that make up the Jhabua diocese, according to him.

The priest urged those who targeted Christians in the region to stop right away.