Akal Takht Jathedar Giani Harpreet Singh has accused Christian missionaries of operating programmes for compelled conversion of Sikh households in border villages, a cost vehemently denied by the Bishop of Diocese of Amritsar.
The Jathedar additional alleged that a number of members of the Sikh neighborhood had been being lured with cash for conversion.
“Christian missionaries are carrying out massive programmes for forced conversions of Sikh families and Scheduled Caste Sikhs in the border belt of Punjab. Missionaries are using money and all possible means to force Sikh families of the border belt to adopt Christianity,” alleged the Jathedar of Akal Takht, the very best temporal seat of Sikhs.
He mentioned, “conversions of innocent Sikhs into Christianity fold is a direct attack on internal matters of the Sikh community and this is intolerable.”
Mr Singh additional mentioned the Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) has acquired many complaints on this regard.
He laid emphasis on taking some steps for prevention of alleged compelled conversions.
The SGPC has taken a severe view of it and has not too long ago launched a “Ghar Ghar Andar Dharamshal” to cease compelled conversions, mentioned Singh.
“Sikh preachers have been given the task to visit all the bordering villages of Punjab to distribute Sikh religious literature, including historical books and other materials free of cost. Besides, all gurdwaras (Sikh shrines) in the border villages are also being extended help to counter the conversion mission of Christian missionaries”, he mentioned.
When contacted, Bishop of Diocese of Amritsar, Church of North India, Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy rejected the claims as “baseless.”
“This is absolutely wrong and baseless allegations. Christians never believe in forced conversions as it is against the principles of Christianity. We are open to criticism, but I asked them to come forward with facts and even quote any single example of forced conversion,” he mentioned.
“If anything is found, the matter is to be investigated by any independent agency or NGO. Every religion has a right to preach and many people including Sikhs and non-Sikhs with their own sweet will join us, but we never force or pressurise them to adopt Christianity,” he added.
There are 150 instructional establishments being run by Christianity and anyone can go to there to investigate from any pupil in regards to the conversion, based on Samantaroy.
“Yes, we definitely give free education to whosoever approaches for the same. We help people to give them education irrespective of caste and creed,” he mentioned.
He additionally mentioned, “the SGPC is talking about the bordering belt of Punjab but we are helping people all over the state to extend free education in our schools, whether they are Sikhs or non Sikhs”.
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