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HVK Archives: The truth behind the recent Hindu-Christian conflict in Dangs

The truth behind the recent Hindu-Christian conflict in Dangs - The Observer

Posted By Ashok Chowgule (ashokvc@giasbm01.vsnl.net.in)
Mon, 11 Jan 1999 11:27:42 +0530

The Special Bench From :
Ghelubhai Nayak
National Minorities Commission Dang
Swaraj Ashram
Government of India Ahwa

District Dangs


Phone : 02631-20390

Sub:- The truth behind the recent Hindu-Christian conflict in Dangs and
Gujarat Honorable members of the National Minorities

Myself and my elder brother, late Chottubhai Nayak, who was known as the
Chotte Sardar of Dangs, came to Dangs in 1948 at the behest of late
Sardar Patel for commencing tribal welfare actives in the backward
region. Ever since then the Dang Swaraj Ashram, founded by Chottubhai,
has been one of the foremost tribal welfare institutions in the area,
Last week I became the recipient of the Gramseva Award of the Gujarat
Vidyapith, Ahmedabad, the university established by Mahatama Gandhi in
1921. This should leave little doubt regarding my anntecedents.

Sirs, myself and many of my Gandhian colleagues condemn the violence
being perpetrated in south Gujarat, particularly the attacks on
churches, in the name of religion, However, we are anguished to bring to
your notice the ground realities behind the recent violent incidents in
Dangs which haven't come to the fore or have been deliberately ignored
by the large sections of the media, which in turn has led to a
one-sided media reporting and press statements thus vitiating the
atmosphere further.

The fact is that there is no dearth of evidence to prove that the
violence is a reaction to the organized conversion activities of the
Christian missionaries in the area with means that are clearly
questionable and even illegal. The single point program of the
missionaries is to convert the tribals and in doing so they are often
using means that go far beyond the reatm of social service and can even
be called illegal. They have been using a curious mix of blindfaith and
allurements to entice the innocent tribals into the Christian fold.
There have been quite incidents know which support the charge but this
is not the time to go deeply into it. The population of converted
tribals which was just around 500 when we came to Dangs in 1948 today
reportedly stands around 35,000 to 40,000 which is over 30 per cent of
the total tribal population of around 1.35 lakh in dangs.

The following facts are for your perusal in order to convince you and
the entire country that the recent religious violence which began in
Dangs on the Christmas day is clearly a reaction to the slow poisoning
of the tribals by the Christian Missionaries after converting them and
then inculcating a spirit in them which clearly goes against true

1) The violence in Dangs began on the Christmas day after some Christian
youths peited stones on the rally of the Hindu Jagran Manch and burnt
the jeep of a tribal participant in the rally. If the participants in
the rally had raised filthy slogans against the Christians as alleged
by them then they should have lodged complaint with the police instead
of triggering violence.

2) The ireagainst Christians in the area has been rising for past few
years and has reached a boil now because of the provocative activities
of the Christians, under the influence of their preachers. There have
been at least 15 instances in the past three years in Dangs where in the
Christians, under the influence of their preachers, have desecrated
idols of Lord Hanuman, who is worshipped in this area by large section
of tribals for ages. In one incident in Gaadhvi village three years ago
they urinated on an idol of Hanuman and later in jharsod village they
crushed Hanuman's idol to pieces and threw it away in the river.

Then there have been several instances where tension has gripped a
village on account of the Christians publicly calling Hindu Gods as
shaitans, again under the influence of their preachers. Besides, one of
the causes of the increasing tension is the refusal of the Christians
tribals to contribute to the traditional tribal festivals under the
influence of the preachers who poison them with antiidolatory sermons.
This can be quickly verified by holding an independent inquiry.

3) Social conflicts in tribal families have greatly increased on account
of the terror tactics of the converted tribal at the behest of the
preachers. In many cases a tribal who accepts Christian faith starts
pressurising his brother into accepting the faith and this often
results in bloody fights over the issue. In one case recently when a
person, who had not converted, went to live with his converted son and
died in his house, he was buried by his Christian son in the graveyard
without even telling his other brothers (who were all non-Christians)

In another case in October last I had to warned the district collector
about the some Christians attempt to disturb peace when they twice beat
up no less than the nephew of the former Bhil Raja of Linga (in Dangs)
when he refused to marry his son to the daughter of Christian, who was
forcing him to enter into the matrimonial alliance. The Christians of
Linga have also been opposing the construction of a Hanuman temple on
piece of land which is owned by the Raja of Linga, Bhavar Singh and on
which they have no right.

The press release issued by the Chairman of the Minorities Commission
appearing in the newspapers says that "the Commission owes a special
responsibility to the holy land of Father of the Nation :Let me remind
the honorable Chairman that the Father of the Nation had also denounced
the conversion activity by Christian missionaries as a holt on humanity
in the name of social service. Even Vinoba Bhave, the greatest saint
that the country can boast of in the past several centuries, denounced
conversion activity and called for a legal ban on any king of
conversion. This can be cleared gleaned from the writings of these two
greatest sons of India.

I have been a close witness to the entire episode in Dangs and I stand
by whatever I have mentioned in is communication, which I hope the
honorable bench will place on record. I also hope that this will prove
usefull to you in arriving at the right conclusions. I am sending this
communication through fax as I am unable to reach Ahmedabad on such a
short notice. In case you need anty clarification kindly call me up on

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