The Akhil Bhartiya Akhara Parishad (ABAP) — the apex body of the 13 akharas (religious orders) — has summoned a meeting of all the akharas to decide on the steps to be taken to check religious conversions.

The meeting will be held soon, said akhara sources.

The development comes close on the heels of the arrest of two persons on charges of converting over 1,000 persons.

ABAP president Mahant Narendra Giri said, “We have to find a solution and provide an equal opportunity to all so that such incidents could be stopped.

“There are not only external factors for this but there are fault-lines within us also. Experiences have shown us that those who have been neglected in the mainstream or those who have been treated as outcasts, tend to take refuge in other religions.

“We will request the Hindus to rise above the considerations of caste and treat everyone with dignity, share mutual respect and avoid circumstances wherein someone changes his or her religion.”

The Mahant said that soon, a meeting of the representatives of all the 13 akharas would be held and the agenda would be to ask disciples and common Hindus to rise above the caste system and mull over steps for bringing back to the fold those who have changed their religion.

Chief patron of Juna Akhara — the largest of 13 akharas in terms of membership — Mahant Hari Giri said, “We have always advocated welcoming back those who have switched over to other religions. Seers and disciples would be given the task of convincing people to rise above the narrow considerations of the caste system.”

The ABAP, two days ago, supported the introduction of a legal draft for population control.

Mahant Narendra Giri, in a press statement, had said that the seers have always demanded that the ever-increasing population in the country should be controlled. He had said that under the Population Control Act, it should be ensured that couples, irrespective of their religion, should have only two children.

He said that if the population growth in the country is not stopped by bringing a law, then there may be a big population explosion in the coming days.

–IANS

amita/dpb

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