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11,000 people convert to Buddhism in Ahmedabad

Express News Service, Jan 25, 2010

Ahmedabad, India -- Cose to 11,000 people, including those from the Koli and Kshatriya communities as well as Christian families, embraced Buddhism at a function in Saijpur Bogha here on Sunday.

Buddhist monks from Bhante Pragnyasheel administered the pledges to the new converts. The Ahmedabad district collector, however, said no conversion could be effective unless an official permission was granted.

“Five Hindu Dalit families that had earlier converted to Christianity also converted to Buddhism at the function,” said Balkrishna Anand, convenor of the Bauddh Dhamma Deeksha Angikar Abhiyan (Gujarat). “We were working on the event for the last few months, touring many districts and conducting meetings to mobilise people,” he said, adding that in all, 350 meetings were held to spread the message across the state.

Maintaining that nearly 11,000 people converted to Buddhism at the function, Anand said the neo-converts had come from places as far as Patan, Surendranagar, Rajkot, Vadodara, Junagadh and Mehsana. Renowned Buddhist leader Kalpana Saroj was the chief guest at the function, which was presided over by five Buddhist monks from various parts of the country.


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