Conversions to Buddhism, Christianity in Raj trigger demand for law to ban them


By Archana Sharma Jaipur, Nov 27 : Conversions to Buddhism and Christianity are growing steadily in numbers in Rajasthan, both in the tribal belt as well as in non-tribal areas among the Dalits, which has given rise to the demand for a law to put a lid on them. Recently, 11 couples in Bharatpur were administered oath pledging to keep themselves away from worshipping Hindu Gods and Goddesses. In this event, which was a mass marriage conference organised by Sant Ravidas Seva Samiti in Kumher town of Bharatpur recently, marriages of 11 couples were conducted in the conference. Before the marriage, everyone was converted to Buddhism and 22 oaths were administered to all the married couples to renounce Hinduism and adopt Buddhism. During this, all couples present there were administered an oath not to believe and worship Hindu Gods and Goddesses. Everyone took an oath: "I do not believe in Hindu God and Brahma, Vishnu and Mahesh." Before marriage, the bride and groom were administered the oath of Buddhism by asking them to renounce Hinduism. No administration or police officer even had a whiff about the incident Earlier to this, around 250 Dalits were allegedly converted to Buddhism in the Baran district of Rajasthan. These people immersed the idols and pictures of Hindu deities in the Bethli River and the video of the incident went viral on social media. In October, a couple in Alwar lodged an FIR alleging that their parents, converted to another religion earlier, were pressuring them to convert and were stopping them from worshipping their Gods, said a police officer. "A complaint was registered by a couple against their own parents, alleging that they were being forced into religious conversion, and were not allowed to worship their gods," Superintendent of Police Tejaswini Gautam said. An FIR was registered. Complainant Sonu said that his parents had converted to Christianity nearly two years ago and they forced them (the couple) to convert as well. "Some members of my family who adopted Christianity protest against us when we pray to god. They even tamper pictures of our gods and force us to convert. We want to live with Hindu customs but they create problems while telling us not to follow Hinduism," he said. "We have filed a complaint with the police," Sonu added. Meanwhile, District president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Dilip Modi alleged that the parents in the said family "threatened" to boycott if they (other family members) did not convert. "A case came to the notice of Vishwa Hindu Parishad about this family here where parents were asking their children to convert to Christianity. However, in the same family, other members follow Christianity. When the children worship their gods, they tear apart the photos of the gods and stop them from praying. They tell them not to worship at home," he said. "They tell them to convert 25 people along with them and threaten a boycott if they (children) deny adopting Christianity," Modi added. He claimed that the parents created a "chain" in society, and alleged that they forced other people also to convert. "It is a kind of racket and they have got security from top. They receive funds and aim at decreasing the number of Hindus," Modi added Another area of concern is Banswara, said Ramesh (name changed) who added, "There are many unchecked conversions going on here. Tribals are lured because they lack education and are poor. In Banswara, there are 440 gram panchayats which now have around 80 churches and 10 years back they were just four to seven." "Earlier, in this district, there were countable Christians, however, now, 60 panchayats have a majority of them and seven sarpanchs are converted. How this happens remains an unanswerable question," he adds on condition of anonymity. The process of their conversion is different too. These people are asked to stand in knee deep water and are administered an oath in water that they will not follow Hinduism. Those who have taken pledge in water never come back to their native religion. However, before taking oath in water, there is a possibility of these people coming back to their community." When asked why this conversion, he said, "They are completely taken care of in respect of their health and children's education and other infrastructure." It needs to be mentioned here that the Supreme Court termed the practice of forced religious conversion a 'very serious' issue and directed the Central Government to step in and make sincere efforts to check the practice. The court also warned saying that a very difficult situation might emerge if the practice of forced religious conversion is not stopped. Meanwhile, VHP joint general secretary Surendra Jain termed the illegal caste conversion as a threat to fundamental right to religion and national security too. He requested the central government to bring a law in this regard soon. Speaking in Bharatpur perspective, state minister Pratap Khachriyawas said, "Now the time has come for Prime Minister Narendra Modi to talk to all parties and bring such a bill so that no one is insulted in the name of religion." /IANS




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