Political Reactions To Agra Conversion Row; Opposition Demands PM's Intervention

11/12/2014 4:48 PM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:24 AM IST
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AGRA, INDIA - DECEMBER 10: Members of Muslim community protest at Mantola against alleged forced reconversion to Hinduism on December 10, 2014 in Agra, India. The nearly 300 members of some 60 Muslim families living in a slum on Agras outskirts reportedly embraced Hinduism in organized by Bajrang Dal. (Photo by Raju Tomar/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

The alleged reconversion of a group of people to Hinduism in Agra put the government on the defensive on Thursday as Opposition stalled Parliamentary proceedings and various groups held nationwide protests criticising the move. An FIR was filed against an RSS wing accused of converting poor Muslim migrants with incentives such as ration and identification cards.

"It was a planned exercise targeting poor Muslims, who were lured in the name of ration cards and water supply. Armed Bajrang Dal activists surrounded the venue, leaving no scope for the Muslims to leave," the Hindustan Times quoted Haji Jamiluddin Qureshi, president of the Rashtriya Sarvdaliya Muslim Action Committee, as saying. Qureshi sought stern action against the Bajrang Dal activists involved in the incident.

Subedar Singh, in-charge of the religious outfit said to convert people in Bihar and Jharkhand, told The Indian Express that a conference was being held this weekend in Vaishali to discuss “challenges before the Hindus” and “will be attended by 2,000 sadhus”.

“We take strong objection to your use of the ‘conversion’ word. We are not doing any conversion," he said. "We are just facilitating the ‘ghar wapsi’ (homecoming) of Hindus who, or their ancestors, had changed faith earlier. We are neither using force nor allurement," he said.

Aligarh MP Satish Gautam added fuel to the fire by stating that such conversions will continue to happen in the city. "We have been doing this for several years and will do it again on December 25. This isn't a conversion but 'ghar wapsi' (home coming)," he said.

He, however, denied reports of "luring people with below poverty line cards to convert people," according to the report.

Meanwhile, Samajwadi Party MP Mulayam Singh Yadav warned leaders in Lok Sabha of possible communal backlash. "This a very serious issue and can have serious implications in the country. I want to warn people, a few parties want to do riots," he said.

BJP MP Rajiv Pratap Rudy said the government is ready for a discussion on alleged forced conversion row in Parliament after all those items listed are taken up.

BJP MP Yogi Adityanath is of the opinion that those who are supposedly converting to Hinduism are doing so because they have realised their mistake, according to Firstpost.

The IBNLive quoted BJP leader Vinay Katiyar as saying that "Omar Abdullah's grandparents were Hindu, who later converted to Islam. There are several groups who convert people silently, why are you not asking them about it?" Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abullah had criticized the BJP over the Agra conversions.

The MPs demanded that Prime Minister Narendra Modi issue a statement on the issue. "In this issue, we all have to work together. The government is more than willing but we should all work together. If the House wants, we can discuss it," said Parliamentary Affairs Minister Venkaiah Naidu.

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