Tejasvi Surya 'unconditionally withdraws' remarks on 'reconversion' to Hinduism
Bharatiya Janata Party's youth leader and MP Tejasvi Surya said on Monday that he "unconditionally" withdrew comments calling for the "reconversion of those who left the Hindu faith." "At a program...I spoke on the subject of 'Hindu Revival in Bharat'. Certain statements from my speech have regrettably created an avoidable controversy," Surya said while withdrawing his statements.
Why does this story matter?
The controversial statements were made at Sri Krishna Mutt in Karnataka's Udupi on December 25 while speaking on 'Hindu Revival in Bharat.' Surya's comments drew massive outrage online, coming on the heels of a Dharam Sansad event in Haridwar where "Hindutva activists" for Muslim genocide. Notably, the BJP-led Centre is already facing flak for being lenient on such communally-charged remarks.
What did Surya say?
On Saturday, Surya called for the reconversion of those who have left the "Hindu fold." "The Hindu has been taken out from his mother religion," Surya said, adding their reconversion to "mother religion" is the "only possible solution" to address this "anomaly." "Those people who have left their mother religion...for various socio-political, economic reasons over the course of history...must be brought back."
Surya called for conversion of Muslims in Pakistan
Invoking the right-wing idea of "Akhand Bharat" (undivided India), Surya called for "converting" Muslims in present-day Pakistan. When this happens, "we will have Pakistan back in the geography," he added. "I appeal that every temple and every mutt must have yearly targets to bring back people to Hindu faith," said the Bangalore South MP.
Surya withdrew the statement due to upcoming Goa elections: Report
Surya, who is close to BJP's central leadership, was told to issue the clarification in view of the upcoming assembly elections in Goa, The Indian Express reported citing sources. Notably, Christians form a sizable population in Goa and are a key vote bank. The ruling BJP in Goa is also facing challenges from Congress, Aam Aadmi Party, and Trinamool Congress this time.
Karnataka assembly recently passed anti-conversion law
Surya's controversial remarks had come shortly after the passage of the anti-conversion bill by the Karnataka assembly amid the Opposition's protest. Congress had opposed the bill saying the government is targeting minorities with the threat of tough penalties under the new law.