By Saji Thomas
BHOPAL: A group in Madhya Pradesh state has launched a campaign to recruit young people to protect Hinduism, a development which worries Christians and Muslims.
The newly formed “Bhagawa [translated as ‘saffron’] Brigade has put up posters across the major cities about its “Hindu Yoddha Bharti Abhiyan” or warrior recruitment drive.
The posters urge “young and energetic” Hindus to join the outfit.
It plans to recruit at least 10,000 young people at the start with the aim of protecting Hindu ideologies from getting “diluted,” the organization’s coordinator Rajesh Bidkar told ucanews.com.
The outfit plans to fight the conversion of Hindus, terrorism, and Muslims marrying Hindus allegedly to convert them, Bidkar said.
Christian and Muslim leaders say the campaign, being organized openly in the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled state, would worsen the situation of minority religious followers.
Ever since the party came to power in December 2003, the state has witnessed several cases of violence against Muslims and Christians, the religious leaders say.
Divine Word Father Prasad Kuzhivelil said the new campaign would harm peace-building efforts.
Joshi Kurishungal, president of the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh, an ecumenical forum of Christians, said the recruitment drive should be treated as a “law and order problem” and the administration should ensure that peace is maintained.
Christians must be “cautious of the harsh reality ahead” warned Daniel John, president of the state unit of the All India Catholic Union.
Mazood Ahammad Khan, a Muslim, said activities such as the new drive are aimed at opposing religious minorities such as Muslims and Christians. The state should apply the law in this case, he said. ucanews