As many as 150 Dalits have reportedly converted to Buddhism here on the occasion of Buddha Purnima earlier this month, though the district administration has denied it. “As many as 150 Dalits have converted to Buddhism in Bareilly during the Buddha Purnima celebrations on May 10,” Gyanendra Maurya, president of the Bharatiya Baudh Dhamm Darshansar Society and Research Centre, told PTI Saturday.
The Dalits decided to embrace Buddhism to safeguard their “dignity and honour”, he claimed, adding that hundreds of members of the community had been expressing their desire to convert, but his society did not want to publicise the issue. District Magistrate Pinki Jowal, however, said that following reports of conversion, an inquiry was conducted by officials which revealed that no such ‘deeksha’ programme was held.
The officials also visited Maurya’s society, spoke to Buddhist religious leaders as well as Dalit leaders and their report clearly stated that no conversion took place, she added.