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PoliticsIndiaVHP demands withdrawal of reservation benefit to converts, explains why

VHP demands withdrawal of reservation benefit to converts, explains why

The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) today launched a campaign to stop conversions of Hindus to other religions with the demand that the government deny education and employment reservation to those who claim to be Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes even after turning to faiths that claim they have no caste system. The VHP has claimed that a lot of Hindus are being converted to Christianity in south Bengal.

The VHP says conversions are rampant in the remote areas of several districts of Medinipur East, Medinipur West and South 24 Parganas.

The VHP says it is preparing a distinct roadmap to go about the agitation that would demand an end of reservation for those converted from Hinduism to other faith systems.

Among the foremost Hindu rights organisation, the VHP has planned to highlight the fact that in 1950, the constitution had given reservation to Hindus alone. It was in 1985 that the quota was extended to Sikhism and some sects of Buddhism, but the constitution never recognised the right to reservation for Christians or Muslims.

The prime organisation in the Sangh Parivar, the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), of which the VHP is an affiliate, recently demanded the introduction of birth control laws in the country, saying that the birth rate of Hindus was decreasing. The RSS also demanded of Indian society that they discard both ‘varna’ (segregation of people according to their merits) and caste (permanent segregation based on birth) should be completely abolished.

RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat claimed that the caste system is creating discrimination in the country. “The caste system has no relevance now. Anything that creates discrimination should be declared null and void!” Mohan Bhagwat said. This created such a furore on social media that Bhagwat's act of flagging the concern of a burgeoning Muslim population got overshadowed for the next 48 hours at least.

The VHP wants the Narendra Modi government to stop providing reservation benefits to former Hindus from the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Classes who are now Muslims or Christians. The VHP believes that if such a policy is introduced, the number of conversions will decrease in the country.

The VHP has initiated a "Social Harmony Campaign" to launch a large-scale movement on this issue. Devjibhai Rawat, the national secretary of the organisation, is leading the campaign. Rawat arrived in yesterday. During his two-day visit to West Bengal, he will hold a meeting with the state VHP leadership on how to prevent conversion among Hindus. He will also attend a meeting organised by the VHP to discuss the issue. Representatives of various religious organisations have been invited to this meeting by the VHP.

“According to the rules, only Hindus should get the benefits of reservation. Because, due to caste, the section of the Hindu society which has been deprived for a long time, the reservation is to give a financial and social establishment to them. It is claimed that there is no such caste distinction in Islam or Christianity. Therefore, there is no question of giving reservation benefits to those who are changing from Hindu to Muslim or Christian,” Rawat told reporters.

“The VHP is a social organisation. It has nothing to do with politics. We want to spread awareness in society. The VHP has taken u similar initiatives in the past. When the society wakes up, the government is forced to take that path,” he added.

The organisation claimed that even without a movement, such a proposal had already been made to the union government, which, it says, has set up a commission headed by former Chief Justice KG Balakrishnan to look into its rationale, although that is not how many view the development. The VHP will present its demands to that commission.

“In the entire country, people from the scheduled castes and scheduled tribes are being converted through various temptations. Many continue to enjoy all the privileges of reservation as Hindus even after conversion. There will be a nationwide campaign to stop this,” Alok Kumar, the All India Working President of the VHP, said in a statement.

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