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LUCKNOW, INDIA, April 17, 2001: Amid Vedic chants and sprinkling of holy Ganges water, Father Anthony Fernandes was reconverted to Hinduism after twelve years as a priest with the Catholic church in Gujarat and given the name Shankar Dev. The ceremony was carried out by Hindu Sanskar Kendra at the Radhakrishna temple in Varanasi. Eleven Vedic scholars performed the ceremony. Fernandes bathed in the holy Ganges and was escorted to the temple. He clarified that he was "returning to the ancestral roots of his free will and without any coercion from any person or organization." Father Fernandes' reconversion followed serious allegations of irregularities against the Church, which was quick to disown him. Fernandes had publicly criticized missionary activities, dubbing the diocese as "Papal Mafia," he has demanded that Bishops appointed by Rome should be derecognised and urged an investigation into the property under the Diocese and Bishops which, he said, was being misused. He has also alleged rampant discrimination within the Church.