THE HINDU
Tuesday, September 29, 1998
SECTION: National

VHP justifies attack on missionaries

Date: 29-09-1998 :: Pg: 13 :: Col: c
By Our Special Correspondent
NEW DELHI, Sept. 28.

An attempt is being by the fanatic fringe in the RSS to virtually justify the savage attacks on missionaries on the ground that they represented 'anti-national forces' which were working against Hindu interests. This section has demanded that the Centre must throw out of the country all those who 'tempt Hindus' to convert to Christianity and who through their schools spread anti-Hindu sentiment.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad, an RSS outfit, today stated that the recent incidents of violence against the Christian missionaries in Jhabua and Baghpat were the result of 'anger of patriotic Hindu youth against anti-national forces'. Virtually justifying the attacks, the VHP has demanded that these missionaries be asked ``to pack up and leave the country''.

This sharply-worded statement against the missionaries comes at a time when the country has been shocked by the violence of the attack on them. In a statement, the VHP central secretary and former BJP MP, Mr. B. L. Sharma `Prem', said that 'the assault on the missionaries in Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, and the violence and loot against them in Baghpat, Uttar Pradesh, was the direct result of conversion of Hindus to Christianity by the Christian priests'. And as if to drive home his point, he also charged the Congress Party government in Madhya Pradesh with being 'unnecessarily energetic' in dealing with the incident and 'giving it undue importance.' The VHP alleged that 'the Congress Government is behaving as if India is still under colonial rule.'

In an aggressive and challenging tone, the statement virtually warned not only the missionaries but the Congress and other parties as well. 'They, the Congress Party, may close its eyes to the black deeds of the missionaries, to their efforts to convert Hindus, but we in the VHP will not shut our eyes to the activities of these traitors,' Mr. Sharma has said.

The VHP, is in fact the mainstream organisation for carrying forward the RSS ideology at the grassroots, for preparing the ground, testing the ideas, making them popular, before the political wing, the BJP, steps in. That was exactly what happened in the Babri Masjid-Ram temple controversy. It was the VHP which spearheaded the agitation, got various Hindu priests together on a platform, built the public mood, before the BJP stepped in to encash this as votes. The VHP statement on the Christian missionaries thus reflects the RSS view on the matter, for the RSS, like the BJP, has not yet given up its demand related to the Gyan Vapi mosque in Kashi and the Idgah in Mathura - that these should be handed over to the 'Hindus'.

Warrants stayed

PTI reports:

Meanwhile, a New Delhi sessions court today stayed till October 6 the arrest of a VHP leader against whom a magistrate had earlier issued non-bailable warrants.

Additional sessions judge, Ms. Veena Birbal, stayed the execution of the warrants against Delhi VHP general secretary, Mr. Rajinder Prasad Gupta, who was accused of creating 'communal disharmony and hatred' in the capital about seven years ago.

While fixing October 6 for hearing the anticipatory bail application of Mr. Gupta, the judge directed him to appear before the trial court on September 30.

The Metropolitan Magistrate, Mr. Vipin Kumar Gupta, had issued the warrants last week rejecting the State Government's plea for withdrawal of the case against the VHP leader and three others.


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