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Missionary Expulsions Demanded

Missionary Expulsions Demanded
1998This article is part of CT's digital archives. Subscribers have access to all current and past issues, dating back to 1956.

Compass Direct News Service

The Hindu nationalist Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) wants all foreign missionaries working in India to leave the country because of "forcible conversions."

Even though the Indian government stopped issuing missionary visas to Christians in 1964, VHP general secretary Acharya Giriraj Kishore says missionaries will be "requested" to return to their homelands. "We do not want Hindus to be converted against their wishes," he says. Kishore also accuses foreign missionaries of being involved in insurgency in northeastern states.

In September, Surendra Kumar Jain, the national governor of the Bajrang Dal, the youth wing of the VHP, claimed Christians worked against national interests and did not have the moral right to stay in India.

"We will compel them to leave India by virtually launching a quit-India movement against them," says Jain, who objects to the divine-healing camps of Christian missionaries.

In a sharp rebuke, the president of the Maharashtra unit of the All India Catholic Union, Dolphy De Souza, accused the Bajrang Dal of building a venomous environment against Christians and other minority religious groups. There are an estimated 300 Americans from U.S.-based Protestant missions groups in India.

Meanwhile, Hindu fundamentalists have carried out more than 30 attacks against Christians in the western India state of Gujarat since March.

On October 30, around 40 delegates to the Alpha Missionary Movement were forced out of their lodgings and beaten with sticks, belts, chains, and fists by members of the group Bajrang Dal.

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