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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT:
Vikram Masson
navyashastra@shastras.org
Phone: 201-674-2065 (USA)
(www.shastras.org)

Hindu Group Criticizes Vishwa Hindu Parishad's Reconversion of Dalits

Troy, Michigan---March 5, 2004—Navya Shastra, an international Hindu organization of scholars, practitioners and priests dedicated to fostering the spiritual equality of all Hindus, has criticized the VHP for casteist practices at its recent mass reconversion campaign in Etah, Uttar Pradesh. The organizers of the campaign, which took place on February 14, claimed to have reconverted 5000 erstwhile Christians to Hinduism, but a spokesman for VHP insisted that the reconverted would be classified as Dalits in their new religion. "While we applaud all efforts to spread the Hindu religion through peaceful and legitimate means, we are utterly baffled that the VHP would insist that the new converts be labeled untouchables," said Jaishree Gopal, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "this is a bizarre act of conceptual dehumanization," she added.

Navya Shastra urged the VHP and all Hindu organizations involved in proselytizing activities to do away with attaching caste labels to new converts. "Surely all modern Hindu reformers agree that there is no spiritual merit attached to any caste affiliation," said Vikram Masson, Navya Shastra Co-Chairman, "organizations like the VHP, which envision a caste-free society, should follow their own advice," he added.

www.shastras.org

NS Statement






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