In probably the first such action under the Freedom of Religion Act in Madhya Pradesh, the police on Wednesday arrested four persons — Tularam Jatav, Maniram Jatav, Keshav Jatav and Makhubai Jatav — for converting to Islam without informing the district authorities in Shivpuri.
Tularam, Maniram and seven of their family members had submitted affidavits to an additional district magistrate on Tuesday, saying they wanted to embrace Islam of their own volition and were not being coerced to do so.
But scores of VHP and Bajrang Dal activists turned up at the Shivpuri collectorate and tried to persuade them against changing their faith. Chanting “Vande Mataram” and “Jai Shri Ram” slogans, they demanded an FIR against the nine persons and those who converted them.
The district authorities returned the affidavits, stating that the anti-conversion law mandates that the applications should come from religious figures presiding over the conversion ceremony and not from those seeking to convert. Citing the law and order situation, the police then detained them.
However, the in-charge of Khaniyadhana Police Station, Y S Jadaun, said there was no tension in Bukarra and Chhirwaha villages from where Tularam and Maniram hail.
Collector Rajeev Dubey said the arrests were made in connection with an FIR filed last week and they would soon be granted bail. But the earlier FIR only named Tularam and Maniram.
The assailants then got into the car in which they came and drove off.