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Ghar Wapsi movement dumped quietly by RSS

Rajeshwar Singh, who steered the reconversion programme and also the Dharm Jagran campaign, shunted out after Modi expresses annoyance. Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh has quietly dumped its functionary at the centre of the controversial `Ghar Wapsi’ reconversion into Hinduism programme in Uttar Pradesh that derailed last month’s winter session of Parliament and has dented the Narendra Modi-led government’s pro-development image in recent weeks.Rajeshwar Singh, a 55-year-old RSS pracharak who single-handedly steered the Ghar Wapsi or reconversion programme and has also led its Dharm Jagran campaign since 1996, has been removed as coordinator of programmes in western UP and Uttarakhand. This, Sangh Parivar sources said, was a fallout of a meeting between RSS leaders and Modi during which the PM is said to have expressed his annoyance at the high-decibel campaign that took the focus away from development and scuppered his government’s ambi tious legislative agenda.

The Ghar Wapsi programme, in which Christians and Muslims are “encouraged“ to “return“ to Hinduism, has been going on for decades, but mostly under the radar. However, Singh’s brazen mass conversion programmes in Agra and his provocative public statements put a spotlight on it, triggering a controversy that was eventually used by Opposition par ties to disrupt Parliament.

Singh has also been removed from the helm of the Sangh-affiliated Dharma Jagran that he has been leading since 1996.However, he continues to be a pracharak with the Agra unit of the RSS.

Although Singh has been conducting Ghar Wapsi campaigns every December for many years now, he had intensified it this year and had planned for the conversion of 20,000 Muslims to Hinduism in UP alone this year. Many of his planned programmes, including one scheduled on Christmas day, could not be held as planned because of the controversy it triggered and had to be cancelled.

Originally from Etah in Uttar Pradesh, Singh was asked to head the re-conversions programme of the Sangh in 1996. He was the Sangh’s pracharak of Mainpuri and Shahjahanpur before that. To implement the Ghar Wapsi programme, Singh had formed teams of 20-25 workers and had deployed one wholetime Sangh member in every block to work with Muslims and people of the backward Valmiki community. RSS functionaries in UP said Singh was the first to initiate Ghar Wapsi of Christians to Hindusim in the state. A Rajput himself, he would also go to houses of Muslims with Rajput names and urge them to come back to the “biradri“.

Singh high-octane campaign of late, emboldened by the presence of a BJP-led government at the centre, became a liability for the Modi-led administration that had fought elections on the plank of better governance and development, but found itself increasingly hobbled by controversies triggered by contentious Hindutva issues.

The past few weeks had seen confabulations between the BJP and RSS leaders during which several ministers are learnt to have impressed upon the Sangh leadership that the noise around contentious issues was affecting the government’s image and functioning.

Ghar Wapsi
Source : The Economic Times



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