Aligarh: A reconversion of 72 Valmikis (a Dalit sect of Hinduism) who had become Christians some 20 years back was completed at a village near here after the church belonging to the 7th Day Adventists was turned into a temple, a report in The Times of India said on Thursday.
As per the report, a 'successful ghar wapasi' was conducted on 72 Valmikis and that shuddhi karan (the ritual where one becomes a Hindu again) took place inside the said church. The report said that the cross was removed from the church and a portrait of Lord Shiva installed inside.
The report reads, "There was an elaborate shuddhi karan (purification) ceremony on Tuesday inside the church in Asroi, 30km from Aligarh. Children from the village soon took over the premises and were seen playing in it by afternoon on Wednesday. A cross was allegedly remove from the church and placed outside the gate and a portrait of Shiva installed.
"Khem Chandra, Sangh pracharak and pramukh of Dharam Jagran Vivad in Aligarh, said, "This is called ghar wapasi, not conversion. They left by choice and today they have realized their mistake and want to come back. We welcome them. We can't let our samaj scatter, we have to hold it tight. I have told them that honour comes from within the community and not from outside." Chandra added that in the years that followed their adoption of Christianity, he met heads of the eight Valmiki families numerous times to convince them to reconsider their decision."
One of the re-converts, who took to Christianity to get rid of the Hindu caste system, told the ToI that he was not better off being a Christian also.
"As Hindus we had no status and were restricted to doing menial jobs, but even after remaining a Christian for 19 years, we saw that no one came to us from their community. There was no celebration of Bada Din (Christmas). The missionaries just built a church for us in the vicinity where some of the villagers got married. That was all."
However, those from the Christian community smell a conspiracy. One Osmond Charles, a lawyer and community leader from Aligarh was quoted as saying, "Ghar wapasi sounds like a conspiracy. Sometimes we hear 'love jihad' and now we have 'ghar wapasi'. Is this the sign of a Hindu Rashtra in the making?"
Christian priests too have taken objection to a havan (fire ritual) inside the church.