GANDHINAGAR, Jan. 27. — Trouble is brewing in the Dangs district of Gujarat. A fortnight from now, between 11 and 13 February, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the Bajrang Dal and the Vanvasi Kalayan Parishad are holding the Shabri Kumbh with the announced aim of ghar vapasi.
Christian organisations are apprehensive of this gathering which is likely to attract more than three lakh people. They feel the ghar vapsi is aimed at the re-conversion of the tribal Christians in the district.
Dangs, which had been witness to the burning of churches in a sudden upsurge of the saffron brigade, is again to be the scene of communal divide. The saffron flags fluttering atop non-tribal homes are already being seen as “identification marks” to segregate the Christian population. Mr Samson Christian, from the All India Christian Council, firmly believed this, and stated that there might be a migration of Christians from the district before the Kumbh mela. Mr Christian said that in some villages like Pimpri, the re-conversion has already started. “Christian girls living in a hostel there, were reconverted on 21 January,” he said. He added that in some cases, land belonging to Christians has also been encroached. They have now changed their strategy. Instead of direct confrontation they now make the tribals fight amongst themselves.
Mr Christian pointed out that there were only two police stations in the district. “The population of Christians in the district is 1.85 lakh, in 311 villages,” he added. “Christians have been here for the past 100 years, the CNI being the main church-there are, in all, 17 para-churches,” according to Mr Christian.
The chief minister of Gujarat, Mr Narendra Modi, according to the AICC leader, is to inaugurate the Shabri Kumbh. Senior leaders, such as Mr K Sudharshan of the RSS, Mr Ashok Singhal and Dr Pravin Tagodia of the VHP, apart from people like Sadhvi Ritambra,are expected to attend the three-day Kumbh. Christian organisations such as the AICC and Prashant have already submitted memorandum to the Governor, and led delegations to Union ministers.