A day after they were arrested for converting to Islam, four Dalits were “re-converted” to Hinduism by VHP and Bajrang Dal activists in a ceremony at the Hanuman Temple here on Thursday.
Calling it “Ghar Vapasi”, the Hindu organisations also brought in over half-a-dozen other Dalits who had expressed their willingness to embrace Islam, and subjected them to a “purification” ceremony amid chanting of mantras by the temple priest.
The four converts — Maniram Jatav, his wife Makhobai Jatav, their son Nilesh Jatav and another relative Tularam Jatav — claimed that nobody had forced them to return to their original faith.
On Wednesday, they were arrested under the state’s anti-conversion law for not informing the district authorities in Shivpuri before converting to Islam. They were later released on bail. They claimed that they had converted to Islam because they were being discriminated against by upper castes.
Meanwhile, Maniram’s two other sons refused to participate in the “re-conversion” ceremony today. They said efforts were on to persuade them to return to Hindu fold.
“I decided to return to my original faith after Hindu leaders in our area promised that we would not be discriminated against in future,’’ said Maniram. Before the ceremony, the Bajrang Dal workers made him shave and wear new clothes.
“No religion teaches discrimination. I have read the Gita, Bible and Quran. We faced a lot of difficulties and chose to convert to Islam but now we have been promised a better future,’’ he said.
Maniram remained a Muslim for 14 months. “Didn’t Lord Rama spend 14 years in exile,’’ said Manoj Sharma, Bajrang Dal district convenor. “I told them that nobody would even lift a finger against them in future,’’ he said.
“Our activists will become active and stop such discrimination in every village. We will ensure nobody converts to Islam and will make every effort to bring those who have already converted back to the Hindu fold,” said Sharma.
The officer in charge of Khaniyadhana Police Station, Y S Jadaun, said the Jatavs had probably decided to re-convert under pressure from their own community.
Bajrang Dal workers said they had convinced them to re-convert by putting pressure on their community members. They said a meeting of the Ahirwar community has been called on Sunday to convince members to stop converting..
Protesting workers took to the street refusing to pick up garbage in the area and instead spread rotting garbage across the roads.
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