A major row has erupted over the alleged conversion of 100 Muslims in Agra by an offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The Dharma Jagran cell of the RSS and Bajrang Dal have claimed that they have re-converted the people to Hinduism at a mass conversion ceremony. Most of the converts were reportedly slum dwellers from West Bengal.
The government which is already battling to face the opposition parties over controversial comments by its minister Niranjan Jyoti, is now under fire in Parliament over the conversion row. Political leaders in unison demanded a statement from Prime Minister Narendra Modi over the action.
Congress said that such incidents are a threat to the secular image of teh country. “Religious conversion on force is a criminal offense. If things continue this way there will be chaos in the country,” Congress leader Manish Tiwari said.
Bahujan Samaj Party chief Mayawati also agreed with Congress saying that forced conversions will create communal stress in the society. “RSS and its various groups are involved in forced conversion. BJP is behind all such acts. What is the government doing on this,” Mayawati said demanding an answer.
CPI leader Sitaram Yechuri also requested for an assurance from Rajya Sabha Chairperson to the people that the Constitution of India will be respected.
“The government is formed by taking oath on the Constitution and if they do not abide by it, there are proper means to take up the matter in the house,” Rajya Sabha Chairperson said.
Meanwhile, the government termed it as a voluntary re-conversion. “I don’t think religion conversion was done forcefully, they willingly converted, this is what I got to know,” MoS HRD Ram Shankar Katheria said.
BJP’s prominent Muslim face and minister of state, Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi added that the government is committed to secularism and said that name of parties should not be taken in such a case.
However, a woman who had attended the Dharam Jagran camp said that they had no idea that they will be converted. “We did not know anything about it; we were forced to convert from our religion. We were promised that our identification cards will be made. We were just asked to dress properly, men were asked to wear topi. We did not know anything about it,” a woman said.