//Christians live in dread of RSS-fest

Christians live in dread of RSS-fest

Gujarat: The preparations at the Shabri Kumbh site are on in full swing. Dang in Gujarat is bracing for the upcoming three-day Shabri Kumbh. The RSS-sponsored festival aims to stop tribals from converting to Christianity.

Even though the government has assured them full security, the Christians in the area are fearing for their safety as more than six lakh people are expected to attend the festival, thousands of RSS activists among them.

The Christians form 20 per cent of the population and are already dreading the event. The villagers of Gaadhvi village have stories that explain their fears.

Jayaram Kadu, a villager points out a man called Jaanu Pawar. "That was Jaanu Pawar. He had burnt down the church and told us that we should become Hindus and shun Christanity. It is like business for him.

The Christian authorities have held several meetings with the administration regarding the event.

All they have got is assurances, which they don’t really believe. Church Head, C J Thakore, says, "Everyone says that nothing untoward will happen. But then the people coming from other places can do anything here. Everyone is living in fear here."

The RSS, which has a strong presence in the tribal belt of Dang is in a denial mode and have dismissed the Christian community’s concern.

RSS member in-charge of Kumbh Organisation Committee, Kishore Gavit says, "Nothing will happen. People should not live in fear of anything happening. These are just outsiders that are trying to create panic."

However, these villagers who came under attack seven years ago for being Christians, are not taking any chances. They already have a contingency plan ready in case of emergency.

Mosiqi Acharya, CNN-IBN, Updated 1702 hrs IST (+GMT 5:30), 06.02.06