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VHP seeks anti-conversion law in Jharkhand

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Ranchi:  After a large number of tribals reportedly converted to Christianity in Jharkhand’s Gumla district, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has sought an anti-conversion law in the state.

“Anti conversion law should be formulated in Jharkhand. Christian missionaries are silently working on their agenda, converting tribals,” VHP leader Pramod Mishra told IANS.

“In the last 15 days, over 300 people belonging to Asur, one of the nine primitive tribes, have been converted to Christianity,” he added.

According to sources in the Gumla district administration, around 100 people from Ghaghra and Visunpur blocks embraced Christianity. The local media has said the figure may be more.

The administration has ordered a probe into the reported conversion.

Stating that Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh had anti-conversion laws, the VHP demanded one from the Jharkhand government too. It also sought details about the funding of the missionaries.

Asked about the VHP’s ‘Ghar Wapsi’ (homecoming) programme, Mishra said: “In Ghar Wapsi, people return to their original faith. We do not force people to convert to Hindu religion.”

(IANS)

 

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Illegal Loggers Threaten ‘Uncontacted Indigenous Tribes’ In The Amazon

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging.

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Members of an uncontacted Amazon Basin tribe and their dwellings are seen during a flight over the Brazilian state of Acre along the border with Peru. VOA

Illegal loggers and militias cleared an area three times the size of Gibraltar in Brazil’s Amazon this year, threatening an “uncontacted” indigenous tribe, activists said on Tuesday.

Satellite imagery collected by Instituto Socioambiental (ISA), a Brazilian advocacy group, detected about 4,600 acres (1,863 hectares) of deforestation this year in the Ituna Itata indigenous land in northern Para state.

“This situation is very worrying,” Juan Doblas, senior geo-processing analyst at ISA, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

“There is a series of risks, not only to indigenous territories of uncontacted tribes, but also to other indigenous territories in the area.”

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Ecuadorian Amazon rain forest. Wikimedia Commons

The indigenous affairs agency Funai and the federal police were not immediately available to comment. The environmental protection agency Ibama said in a statement that official data on Amazon deforestation will be released in November.

Brazil’s uncontacted tribes, some of the last on earth, depend on large areas of unspoiled forest land to hunt animals and gather the food they need to survive.

They are particularly vulnerable when their land rights are threatened because they lack the natural immunity to diseases that are carried by outsiders, rights groups say.

Forest loss in Ituna Itata — from which outsiders were banned in 2011 to protect the uncontacted tribe — spiked to about 2,000 acres in August from 7 acres in May, said ISA, which has monitored the area through satellites since January.

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This Sept. 15, 2009 file photo shows a deforested area near Novo Progresso in Brazil’s northern state of Para.. VOA

South America’s largest country is grappling with scores of deadly land conflicts, illustrating the tensions between preserving indigenous culture and economic development.

ISA filed a complaint in April to federal and state authorities about forest destruction and illegal logging in the area during the rainy season, which is unusual, said Doblas.

“It was a sign that something very serious was going to happen,” he said. “It was a preparation for the invasion.”

Also Read: Spix’s Macaw Parrot from Brazil Is Now Extinct

The environmental protection agency Ibama responded by sending in patrols in May, which temporarily halted the logging, he said, adding that ISA plans to file another complaint this week, using updated data and satellite images. (VOA)