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US Hindu organisation accuses VHP of casteismAdd to Clippings

IANS
[ SUNDAY, MARCH 06, 2005 07:27:31 PM ]
MICHIGAN: A US-based Hindu organisation has accused the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) of "casteist practices" at a mass conversion campaign in Etah in Uttar Pradesh last month.

Navya Shastra, the organisation which boasts of scholars and priests "dedicated to fostering the spiritual equality of all Hindus" among its followers, said the VHP, which claimed to have converted 5,000 Christians to Hinduism at Etah, had classified them 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 labelled as untouchables," it said in a statement here.

"This is a bizarre act of conceptual dehumanisation," the statement quoted Navya Shastra co-chairperson Jaishree Gopal as saying.

The statement urged all Hindu organisations involved in proselytising activities to do away with attaching cast labels to new converts. "Surely all modern Hindu reformers agree that there is no spiritual merit attached to any caste affiliation," the statement added.

Organisations like the VHP, which envisions a caste-free society, should follow their own advice, it maintained.


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