File photo.(File 2006 – Staff Photo)

Multiple religious groups plan to speak out in the coming days about what they say are threats to churches in India from a group operating in Frisco.

The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations, a group whose mission is “to protect the interest of the Christian church” in India, alleged in a written statement that the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation is an “extremist group operating under the garb of a charity.” The group said the Hindu organization has been raising money in Texas aimed at demolishing churches in India and forcefully converting Christians to Hinduism.

FIACONA has scheduled a news conference for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Frisco City Hall.

Prakasrao Velagapudi, president of the Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, said the organization was founded to protect, preserve, promote and maintain Hindu culture and Hindu temples through legal, peaceful avenues in India.

Velagapudi said in an email that his group brought to the attention of India’s government that some churches might have been built illegally, and that the government acknowledged that the structures — in a major pilgrimage center for Hindus — were constructed without permits.

“Would unpermitted construction of religious buildings be allowed in other holy places such as the Vatican or Mecca?” Velagapudi said. “The law of India states that the government has the right to demolish illegally constructed buildings, and what action the government takes in the end is not the purview of the GHHF.”

Velagapudi added that Hindus do not believe in conversion and that his group “has not raised funds to demolish churches, implied or sent threats to anyone or any other organization.”
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