Allahabad, Jan 17: A number of seers and senior Vishwa Hindu Parishad leaders here today asked the Narendra Modi government to bring in a "strong anti-conversion" law but insisted that re-conversion to Hinduism be allowed as "Sanatan Dharma is the only Dharma while other faiths were only sects".
According to the VHP's Kashi Prant president Manoj Srivastava, "a resolution was passed at a meeting of our Margdarshak Mandal held yesterday, which received the blessings of Sant Sabha (seers' congregation) today wherein the Modi government has been urged to bring in a strong and effective anti-conversion law".
The demand comes against the backdrop of the raging controversy over "Ghar Wapasi" drive of the Sangh Parivar whereby people converted to other religions allegedly by force or through enticements were being brought back.
He, however, added that the VHP leaders as well as the seers were of the view that "pravartan" (return to the Hindu fold) must be allowed as "it was not religious conversion. There is only one Dharma - the Sanatan Dharma. Islam, Christianity etc. are only sects. If somebody wants to return to his roots, he must not be deprived of the opportunity".
Srivastava added that other resolutions passed at the congregations held at the ongoing religious fare "Magh Mela" included a demand for "facilitating the construction of Ram temple at Ayodhya by removing all impediments through a legislative route", "effective action, not just slogans, with regard to making the Ganga pollution-free" and "protection of cows".
The meeting was attended by a number of VHP office-bearers, prominent among them being its organisational general secretary Dinesh Chandra. However, conspicuous by his absence was VHP patron Ashok Singhal who, Srivastava claimed, could not attend the "Sant Sabha" owing to fatigue despite having reached the city by train this afternoon.
The VHP's fire-brand international working president Pravin Togadia, who makes it a point to visit the "Magh Mela" held near the holy "Sangam" almost every year, was also not in the city and Srivastava said he was "busy with Hindu Sabhas being organised in various parts of the country".
Prominent seers who were present at today's congregation included Sriram Janmabhoomi Nyas Chairman Nritya Gopal Das and Shankaracharya of Jyotirpeeth Badarikashram Swami Vasudevanand Saraswati.