By Express News Service
RAIPUR: The ruling Congress and opposition BJP in Chhattisgarh are now holding each other responsible for the existing number of Churches in the state.
CM Bhupesh Baghel had on Wednesday dismissed BJP’s allegations of rising religious conversion under his government and said the maximum number of churches were constructed under the BJP rule in the state.
“Media reports on BJP Chintan Shivir highlight that the 15-year misrule of Raman Singh is being discussed. Religious conversion is also part of this discussion. Records show that the maximum number of churches were constructed under BJP rule in Chhattisgarh,” Baghel had said addressing a media query regarding BJP’s allegation.
“BJP is desperate to return to the power in the state and so they are endevouring to raise the issue of religious conversion which they also discussed in their Chintan shivir (brainstorming session) of their senior leaders at Bastar. But in Chhattisgarh, the maximum number of churches were built during earlier 15-year-rule of Raman Raj (BJP)”, the CM said and claimed that any religious conversion if happening is only voluntarily.
“Let them bring a single case of religious conversion either by force or allurement, the state government will take action”, Baghel challenged the BJP.
However, the opposition strongly countered Baghel saying that when the Congress leaders were knowing about the growing numbers of churches, why they had not raised the issue earlier.
“Everyone knows under whose regime there has been an increase in religious conversion or the churches. Why the Congress leaders never discussed these issues in the Assembly or elsewhere? As an opposition we deliberated on religious conversion in the House and demanded to put a stop to it,” said Raman Singh, former CM, and BJP national vice-president.
The Christian community is not happy with both the political parties for turning their worshipping place as the “political focal point”.
“It’s really sad. All these arguments seem to be the politically-motivated game plan. The Christian community of the state and church was used as a football by the parties. The number of Christians had actually decreased as per the census. So where does the question of religious conversion arise? Raking up such an issue may give the parties some short-term political gain but without ensuring peace how can the nation progress? What the church, that never receives any government funds, has to do with its development?”, asked Victor Henry, the Arch Bishop (Chhattisgarh) while talking to The New Indian Express.
“Is our religious place of worship illegal or unconstitutional structure and building it is a criminal act? The Christians are deeply upset and feel insecure over such political feuds seen in the number of churches in Chhattisgarh. What’s the problem if more churches came up during the BJP’s rule”, asserted Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum.