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With BJP’s eye on Goa polls, Tejasvi Surya withdraws call to ‘reconvert’ Muslims, Christians

BJP youth wing president, no stranger to controversy, had called on Hindu mutts to set annual targets for the conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

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Bengaluru: Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP for Bengaluru South, Tejasvi Surya, has withdrawn his controversial remarks on Islam and Christianity.

Surya, national president of the BJP’s youth wing, had attacked the ‘Abrahamic’ faiths Saturday in a speech in Udupi, Karnataka and urged that all “Hindus” who had “left the Hindu fold” for other religions be “reconverted”. He also asked Hindu mutts to set yearly targets for the conversion of Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

He withdrew his remarks two days later, saying in a tweet Monday that “certain statements” in the speech had caused “avoidable controversy”.

It was an uncharacteristic move for Surya, who is no stranger to controversy and has never withdrawn or shied away from communally charged statements. 

A senior BJP leader told ThePrint that the reason for the comments being withdrawn was that the “Goa elections are coming”. The leader added that the party didn’t want unnecessary controversy ahead of the polls in the state, where the Christian community has the sway to change electoral outcomes. 

The call to withdraw the statement has come from above. What he said is right, but not the way he said it,” said the leader.

Attempts to contact Surya over the phone and through text messages did not yield any response till the time this report was published.

‘Annual target for temples and mutts, convert even Pakistanis’

In his speech at the Udupi Sri Krishna Mutt Saturday, the MP had demanded that even Pakistani Muslims be converted to Hinduism.

“We should dream big. It is not just reconverting Muslims and Christians near our homes, but even the Muslims in today’s Pakistan back to Hinduism. It should be our priority,” Surya told the gathering. 

Snippets of his speech went viral Sunday with his supporters cheering him, while opposition leaders mocked him.

“All temples and mutts should set an annual target to reconvert people. There should be special drives on festival days,” Surya said. 

“The only option left for Hindus is to reconvert all the Hindus who left the Hindu fold over the years for various socio-political and economic reasons. There is only one solution to address this anomaly. All those who converted to other faiths must be brought back to the Hindu fold,” he said.

Surya also accused the Hindu political leadership of failing to create awareness among the Hindu population. “Unfortunately, the Hindu political leadership is responsible for Hindus not understanding the difference between the fundamental tenets of Hinduism and the Abrahamic faiths. All these years, no Hindu political leader allowed awareness to be created,” he said. 

(Edited by Rohan Manoj)

Also read: Datta Peetha-Bababudangiri: How Karnataka’s Hindu-Muslim shrine became ‘Ayodhya of the South’


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