In another shocking case of luring tribal Hindus to convert to Christianity, as many as five people have been held for inciting local Hindus to embrace Christianity through illegal means in Jashpur of Chhattisgarh.
The incident occurred when a Changai Sabha (Christians gathering to offer the prayer) was organised at one of the accused houses, where more than 50-60 Hindus from nearby villages were invited. It’s been reported that the ceremony was called to instigate the local Hindus to embrace Christianity while leaving their bonafide religion.
As per the FIR filed by one of the locals, Durga Devi, a resident of Purna Nagar under Town Thana limits of Jashpur, his husband, Ganga Ram Bhagat, had got a call on late June 6 evening that a conversion programme on the pretext of a prayer ceremony is being held in nearby BalaChapar village of School para under Town Thana police station limits of Jashpur.
Learning about the incident, Ganga Ram Bhagat, his wife, and other associates soon reached the house of one Heera Bai of Bala Chhapar. Upon arriving at the accused house, they found that the accused, Heera Muni Bai, along with her daughter Vibha Kerketta aka Vibha Vishwakarma, her brother Dinesh Ram and their other companions were inciting people to learn more about the Christian way of praying.
It’s been learnt that a Bible, along with candles and other materials pertaining to the recently concluded Changai cum conversion programme, was also spotted at the accused home. It’s been reported that she denied having one upon enquiring about the identity card of one of the accused, Vibha Vishwakarma, who worked as a sister (nun) at Kunkuri Church.
In a video pertaining to the incident Vibha who can be seen dressed up as a practising Christian nun/sister, denied having an identity card. At the same time, the other accused can also be seen hesitant to reveal their identity. When one of the accused, identified as Deepak Ram, was confronted about why he didn’t change his surname if he had converted to Christianity, he looked distressed and didn’t reply to the query.
It’s been reported that after the primary investigation, all five accused have been booked under sections 295 A and 151 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). It’s also been learnt that despite being converted to Christianity, the accused practise Hinduism on paper and hail from the Vishwakarma community.
Speaking with the Organiser representative ASI Warle, while confirming the incident, said, “We have received a complaint against a few people promoting illegal conversion activities in the BalaChapar area, following which the accused have been booked under the relevant section of the IPC and arrested. One of the accused who is visually impaired has been allowed bail by the magistrate while the others are in jail.”
The correspondent also spoke to one of the associates of the complainant, who informed that the illegal conversion activities on the pretext of organising a Shanghai Sabha are quite common in the region as several cases pertaining to luring the local Hindus have surfaced from time to time.
Recently in a similar incident, a row erupted in the nearby Orkela village under the Manora block of Jashpur after a few people belonging to the Christian community illegally tried to build a Church on government land, following which a complaint had also filed before the SDO on May 29.
As per the reports, a partial structure of the proposed Church had been raised on Government land ( No. 6/1/क). The structure was reportedly built without prior permission from the concerned government officials or the village panchayat, and it was only when the locals intervened and raised their objections that the construction was halted.
It’s been reported that after learning about the illegal structure, the villagers filed a complaint before the SDM, citing that the location on which the illegal structure was raised is a notified Scheduled area and the organisation building the Church falls under the non-tribal category; thus, it needs to be stopped. It was reported that following the complaint, it was agreed upon in a village meeting that the said structure would be removed within a week.
In another incident reported from the Duldula region around 55 km from the Jashpur town, a converted youth identified as the local Hindu villagers had recently confronted Nilambar Ram for allegedly organising Changa Sabha and luring other residents to embrace Christianity in Kendpani village under the Duldula block of Jashpur.
As per the reports, the said youth was inciting the locals to convert to Christianity through illegal means for almost two years. Learning about his I’ll attempt at conversion; the villagers had warned Nilambar, who also hails from the Vishwakarma community, against promoting illegal conversion and propagating fallacy about the Sanatan Dharma.
It is to be noted that the tribal-dominated state of Chhattisgarh has been the target of Christian missionaries since always, and Jashpur is considered to be one of the hotbeds of illegal conversion being promoted by the missionaries.
Let us recall that the central Indian state has also witnessed several communal fissures between the local Hindu Vanvasi community and the Christian groups lately over growing cases of illegal conversion in the remote areas of the tribal heartland.