Updated: January 30, 2015 1:13:09 am
A day after a “ghar wapsi” programme was organised at a tribal village of Rampurhat in Birbhum district, the Bengal police lodged separate FIRs against international working president of Vishwa Hindu Parishad Praveen Togadia and VHP general secretary Jugal Kishore on Thursday as Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee ordered an inquiry.
Two different cases were lodged against Togadia and Kishore. While Togadia was charged with delivering “communal speech” at the public meeting in a Rampurhat village, Kishore has been charged for delivering “hate speech and applying force on tribal people”, a senior police official said. The complaints were lodged by two tribal youths who were present at the programme.
About 17 Christian and two Muslim families were “reconverted” to Hinduism on Wednesday through “shuddhi havan” (purificaton) and other rituals. The event was attended by Tagodia and other top VHP leaders.
Significantly, soon after reports of the “reconversion” drive in Bengal-Jharkhand border spread, TMC MP Derek O’Brien in a tweet on Wednesday said that “people like Togadia would be dealt with ruthlessly by the government”. The police action came hours after the TMC MP’s reaction.
Meanwhile, the Don Bosco society has sought a report on the alleged “reconversion” of Christains to Hinduism from the Don Bosco Church in Baropahari area. The Baropahari Church is located 4 km away from Kurmadanga, where at least 15 Christian families were “reconverted” by the VHP.
Father Agapit Minj has confirmed that he would be submitting a report to Bishop Julius Marandi, who is at the Dumka Church in Jharkhand. The Don Bosco church at Baropahari area is the only Roman Catholic Church that works among the tribal population in 73 villages spread over four panchayat areas. According to the church records, at least 164 families were converted to Christianity in last two years. “We never baptize people in this way. We ask them to start coming to Church and send their kids to the schools and the hostels. If the people are spiritually and mentally convinced to embrace Christianity, then we baptize them,” said Father Minj.
Interestingly, at least half dozen police personnel from Rampurhat police station were present at the “suddhi havan” on Wednesday. A police team visited the village and spoke to the villagers inquiring about the “conversion”. Local VHP leaders were also questioned. According to sources in the VHP, some of the tribal leaders who brought people for the “reconversion” have gone underground.
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