ALIGARH, INDIA, August 28, 2014 (Times of India): A church with a cross in it that belonged to the 7th Day Adventists overnight turned into a temple adorned with a portrait of Shiva after what some Hindu groups in Aligarh termed the "successful ghar wapasi" (reconversion) of 72 Valmikis who had become Christians in 1995. There was an elaborate shuddhi karan (purification) ceremony on Tuesday inside the church in Asroi, 18 miles from Aligarh.
Khem Chandra, Sangh pracharak and pramukh of Dharam Jagran Vivad in Aligarh, said, "This is called ghar wapasi, not conversion. They left by choice and today they have realized their mistake and want to come back. We welcome them. We can't let our samaj scatter, we have to hold it tight. I have told them that honor comes from within the community and not from outside." Chandra added that in the years that followed their adoption of Christianity, he met heads of the eight Valmiki families numerous times to convince them to reconsider their decision.
Anil Gaur, one of those who returned to the Hindu fold, said it was because they were unhappy with the caste system that they changed their religion. "But we found ourselves in no better position among Christians," he said. "As Hindus we had no status and were restricted to doing menial jobs, but even after remaining a Christian for 19 years, we saw that no one came to us from their community. There was no celebration of Bada Din (Christmas). The missionaries just built a church for us in the vicinity where some of the villagers got married. That was all."