Friday, May 6, 2011

[ZESTCaste] 5K dalits to convert to Buddhism

5K dalits to convert to Buddhism
Vijaysinh Parmar, TNN | May 5, 2011, 10.45pm IST

RAJKOT: Leaving behind the caste system, untouchability and
discrimination, large numbers of people from the Scheduled Castes,
Scheduled Tribes and Other Backward Castes (OBC) will embrace Buddhism
on May 29 in Rajkot.

The Buddha Dhamma Deeksha Angikar Federation-Gujarat is organizing
this conversion program and the process for taking consent of the
people who want to adopt Buddhism has been initiated in the Saurashtra

"We expect that more than 5,000 people will take deeksha and convert
to Buddhism, which was adopted by our great leader B R Ambedkar
decades ago. The people who are adopting this religion are mainly from
Saurashtra region like Rajkot, Porbandar, Amreli, Bhavnagar, Junagadh,
Jamnagar and Surendranagar. We have suffered a lot due to the caste
hierarchy for centuries, but Ambedkar showed us a different path - in
which there is no discrimination between human beings," said Parikshit
Rathod, convenor of the federation.

"We have already started the necessary process to file consent papers
of those people who want to adopt the Buddhism and they will be
verified by district administration and police as it is mandatory,"
said Rathod. On May 29, Bhante Dhammdoot Bhadant Sanghratna Manke
(President Paiya Meksha Sangh-Japan) and other religious leaders will
attend the programme at Chaudhary High School Ground in the city.

The federation is organizing conversion programs across the state,
inspiring people to adopt Buddhism. Some months ago, a similar
programme was held at Porbandar where more than 100 people, mainly
dalits had adopted Buddhism.

Interestingly, the federation has been distributing pamphlets for this
programme which praise chief minister Narendra Modi for promoting
Buddhist culture and heritage in the state. Recently, the state
government had charted out the plan to develop Buddhist sites. "CM
Modi has promised a Buddhist temple in the state and it is a proud
moment for all of us," the pamphlet said. When asked about it, Rathod
said that the state government should be appreciated for good things,
but we have also said that anti-conversion law passed by Gujarat state
is wrong and we condemn it.

The Buddha Dharma Deeksha Angikar Federation is organizing Buddha
Dharma Adoption Program on May 29 in Rajkot

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