Days after Deputy Chief Minister Arun Sao dropped hints that the Chhattisgarh Government is considering legislative or administrative action to curb the menace of illegal conversion in the State, the Chief Minister (CM), Vishnu Deo Sai, said on Saturday, December 23, that measures will be taken to stop conversion.
Speaking to the media, during his maiden visit to Delhi after taking oath as the first Janjati (tribal) CM of the state, Vishnu Deo Sai said that “rampant conversion took place under the previous government where action used to be taken against the complainant itself.”
“I can clearly say that the Congress kept encouraging conversion to expand their vote bank, as those who get converted usually distance themselves from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But now we will make sure that no such activities will take place and conversion will be stopped,” added CM Sai.
EXCLUSIVE | VIDEO: "Rampant religious conversion happened during the previous government. I can clearly say the Congress kept encouraging conversion for vote bank politics. But now no such activities will take place and conversion will be stopped," Chhattisgarh CM @vishnudsai… pic.twitter.com/VmNFRm06wG
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) December 23, 2023
The remarks of the CM have come at a time when speculation is being made that the Chhattisgarh government may introduce a stringent anti-conversion law in the future to deal with the growing cases of conversion in the Janjati-dominated State.
Earlier, a number of leaders of the ruling party, including the Deputy CM of the state, Arun Sao, stressed the need to find a concrete solution to the conversion issue within the legal framework.
In an interview with the News18 network, DY CM, Sao also asserted that “we have to stop the conversion of the Janjati population in the State. It’s a crucial issue that has to be addressed, and we will take whatever measures are possible in the legal framework to stop this.
Earlier, the BJP state secretary of the Chhattisgarh unit, Prabal Pratap Judev, while speaking exclusively to the Organiser had also demanded that a probe should be initiated to inquire about the cases of conversion that occurred under the Congress government and speedy justice be served in cases registered under Section 170 (b) of the Indian Penal Code.
Further, while emphasising the need of a stringent law on conversion, the BJP leader from Jashpur asserted that those who have converted should be deprived of reservation benefits and that a stringent law should be enacted to deal with cases of conversion.
Communal scuffle over cases of illegal conversions
It is to be noted that the Janjati-dominated state has witnessed a number of communal scuffles over growing cases of illegal conversion in recent years. The surge in cases of illegal conversion through means of inducement and fallacy has also led to clashes between the newly converted Christians and the local Hindu Janjati community.
Earlier clashes erupted between the two communities after a group of newly converted Christians, backed by some local miscreants, launched a surprise attack on the members of the Hindu community when the latter had gathered for a village meet over the growing menace of conversion in Gorra village of Narayanpur in January this year.
The incident sparked a huge outrage among the Janjati community, which carried out protest rallies, leading to more clashes in the days to come. Later on, a delegation of the leaders of the community also met with the then governor, Anusuiya Uikey, and demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) inquiry into the matter, alleging that the local administration is working under the pressure of missionaries.
In another case reported from Bhejripadar village under the Pipara police station in Bastar, a number of people, including a few policemen, sustained injuries after the two communities got into a heated debate that later turned violent over the burial of an old lady in March this year.
Similar incidents of communal scuffle were also reported from Kondre and Polammpalli of Sukma districts, where the locals gathered in large numbers and protested against the illegal conversion and the lacklustre attitude of administration in dealing with such cases.