VHP’s ‘seva kendra’ in Bengal village creates row

VHP seva kendra at the Khoramdanga village of Bengal's Birhum district. DH photo

Nearly three years after VHP kicked up a storm by allegedly conducting “ghar wapsi” in the Khoramdanga village of West Bengal’s Birhum district, the right-wing organization has started construction of a large Seva Kendra (charity centre) in the same village.

Speaking to DH, VHP officials did not deny that the project has links to its Hindutva agenda. Nearly 100 Christians were allegedly converted to Hinduism by VHP in the village on January 28,2015. The village is located about 10 kms away from the Jharkhand border and comes under the Rampurhat I block of Birhum.
 
Even as VHP leadership has named the project as “Khoramdanga Seva Project,” sources in state VHP said that there are plans to set up a cow shelter in the new building along with students’ hostels and other facilities. 
 
“Apart from the cow shelter we are planning to set up hostels for underprivileged tribal children, a community hall and a place for prayer,” VHP sources said. 
 
However, state VHP spokesperson Sourish Mukherjee said “ there is nothing controversial about the project. This is only a part of our social service which takes place across the country mainly in backward and tribal areas.” Asked whether the project has links to VHP’s Hindutva agenda he said that “ VHP always campaigns for Hindutva.
 
A large two-storied building is being constructed for the project at the village which is populated by about 100 tribal families mostly from the financially weaker section of the society. 
 
Interestingly the village located in the Rampurhat I block of Birhum comes under a gram panchayat which is run by Trinamool Congress (TMC) since 2008 and the local TMC leadership claimed that they are not even aware of VHP’s project. 
 
“ We do not know about any such activity of VHP in the village,” local TMC leader and area president of TMC’s SC-ST cell Bubai Murmu said. 
 
The development has prompted opposition parties to accuse TMC of directly supporting VHP for the project. 
 
“ All the claims of so-called social work by VHP are nothing but an attempt to cover up their communal agenda. The project is an undercover continuation of Ghar vapsi by VHP just like they did on January 28, 2015,” Ram Chandra Dome, senior CPI(M) leader and seven-time MP from Birbhum said. 
 
He further alleged that the project could not have taken place without direct support from the ruling TMC and local administration. 
“One requires permission from the local gram panchayat and state administration to get land for such a large construction work. How come TMC is claiming that they not aware of it?” said Dome.
 

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VHP’s ‘seva kendra’ in Bengal village creates row

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