This Article is From Dec 10, 2014

Mass Conversion in UP Sparks Outrage in Parliament, Government Asked to Explain

Mass Conversion in UP Sparks Outrage in Parliament, Government Asked to Explain
Agra: The religious conversion of some 200 people in Uttar Pradesh raised sharp protests in Parliament on Wednesday with the opposition demanding the BJP-led government's explanation.

In both houses, opposition MPs attacked the BJP over the conversions organized in Agra on Monday reportedly by groups linked to the ruling party's ideological mentor RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). The activists have announced another similar event in Aligarh on December 25.

"The House and the country need reassurance that the Constitution will not be violated. It is a diabolical plan by the BJP," said Congress leader Anand Sharma in the Rajya Sabha.

"The Prime Minister must clarify," said Left leader Sitaram Yechury.

An FIR or police complaint has been filed on the complaint of a villager who has alleged that 57 Muslim families chosen from a rag-pickers' colony in the Taj Mahal town were given inducements to convert.

"We were told we will get ration card, Aadhar card, the police will not bother us. We are poor so what do we do?" one of the converts had claimed on Tuesday.

Cases of cheating and promoting enmity have been filed by policemen who visited the families late last night. "Arrest is the next step. We will not allow forced conversions," said Ram Gopal Yadav of the Samajwadi Party, which rules Uttar Pradesh.

The ceremony, described as "homecoming" by activists of the Bajrang Dal and Dharam Jagran Samanvay Vibhag who allegedly presided over it, saw chanting by priests while the converts, wearing skull caps, made offerings at a ritual fire or havan.

The organisers claim that the families were originally Hindu and converted to Islam around 30 years ago.

"Come to Aligarh on 25th, both Christians and Muslims will be converted under Adityanath's blessings," said Rajeshwar Singh, an activist, referring to the BJP MP from Gorakhpur.

The conversions are expected to be taken up during a debate on "rising communal incidents in India" in the Rajya Sabha next Wednesday.