India: Churches in Odisha should be brought under the authority of the state a Hindu radical group demands

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Christians in India

India’s radical Hindu group, Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) demands that all churches should be run under the State Endowment Commissioner in Odisha.

This Hindu radical group is demanding that all places of worship which belong to either Christians or Muslims should be brought under the State Endowment Commissioner’s purview so that there income could be kept in check.

In this regard, while talking to the media, Prant Sanghchalak (eastern Odisha) of RSS Samir Kumar Mohanty, said, “For Hindus there is an Endowment Commissioner. But there is no such body or public authority for Muslims and Christians. As there is no regulating authority there is no impediment to their spread. As increase in Christian and Muslim population would soon be a demographic challenge, there is a need to keep an eye on their financial sources.”

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This resolution was passed by the highest executive body of RSS, Akhila Bharatiya Karyakari Mandal. Aside from 16000 temples of Hinduism and over 450 mutts, the Odisha Hindu Religious Endowments Act 2012 is applicable to Jain or Buddhist establishments and endowments. “For Hindu religious leaders there are restrictions. But there is no such bar for other religions.”

Dr Basant Pati, Bhubaneswar Mahanagar Sanghachalak said, “In Kandhamal, the violence in 2008 had its roots in social tension triggered by conversion of Hindu tribals into Christianity. Even now we are reporting cases of illegal conversion to district authorities of Kandhamal, but without any success. Vast differences in growth rate of different religious groups, infiltration and conversion resulting in religious imbalance of population ratio, especially in border areas may emerge as threat to the unity integrity and cultural identity of the country.”

The Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) leaders expressed their opinions that between 2001 and 2011, at least three districts saw an enormous growth in Christian population with Gajapati ranking on top in terms of conversion to Christianity ratio. In Gajapati, according to some careful estimates, about 38% of the total population are Christians. “This would lead to tension between Hindus and Christians in future as the sudden rise in affluence of the converts create a social imbalance,” said Pati.