Conversion in Chhattisgarh at peak, state government still on denial mode

    21-Jul-2021
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                                                                                                                                                                   Pankaj Singh
 
The conversion or homecoming of its own accord is undoubtedly within the constitutional scope, but the conversion by spreading fallacy is not only illegal, but it is also pernicious.
 
 
Sukma SP_1  H x 
 
A letter issued by Sukma SP Sunil Sharma to his subordinate police officers is doing the rounds recently. Although there is nothing wrong with the preventive action taken by Sukma SP, some people are making hue and cry for no concrete reason. The letter states that police personnel need to be alert to prevent any conflict between tribal and Christian missionaries.
 
The letter further describes how Christian missionaries incite innocent tribal people to convert their religion by luring them. How, in the name of economical benefits from conversion, people from tribal Hindu society are wooed by missionaries.
 
The District Superintendent of Police has also indicated a lot of anger among tribal groups against Christian missionaries promoting illegal conversions. Due to which a situation of dispute can arise between these two groups. He directed the policemen to remain vigilant to prevent any possible confrontational situation.
 
However, SP Sunil Sharma also clarified that this letter is preventive so that law and order can be maintained if any conflict arises and maintain harmony in society. Understanding the gravity of the situation, SP Sharma has taken a prudent step, while Christian missionaries have termed it an action motivated by prejudice. As soon as the news of this letter surfaced in the media, a group of people promoting the dirty business of conversion in the name of constitutional rights raised their rage and started accusing the police.
 
In his statement to the media, Christian Forum President Punnilal said that "SP Sukma has passed a shocking order. The police have also adjusted the work of the judiciary and blamed the entire Christian society for conversion. He further said that any citizen has the constitutional right to propagate his religion under Article 25."
 
It is not a new thing for people like Punnilal to make such statements. Putting pressure on the police and administration by making such statements has always been a part of the missionaries' plan.
 
The areas which SP Sharma is talking about are the game of conversion, which is getting a lot of encouragement for the last few years. Despite not having had much success in these areas, Christian missionaries continue to promote conversions by luring tribal groups.
 
 
 
According to the letter of SP Sharma, the news of religious conversion by missionaries from Gundra, Patinaikras, Kakadiama, Lundipara and Barupata villages of Chhindgarh police station area is continuously coming to the fore, due to which there is a lot of anger in the local tribal society.
 
Even though people like Punilal try to hide the religious conversions that are being carried out systematically by spreading confusion among innocent tribal groups under the guise of constitutional rights, the truth is that such news is frequently heard not only in Sukma but in almost every district of the state.
 
Twenty members of five families have been converted in Devbaloda village of Durg district. According to the information received, just three months after converting to Christianity, two teachers of Shishu Mandir School, along with pastor Pramod, got these people converted.
 
As soon as the matter came to light, local RSS volunteers and some BJP workers rushed to Devbaloda Church. Seeing them there, Pastor Pramod left both the women and ran away from the back door. Later, during police interrogation, both the women teachers said they had changed their religion only three months back. Although the Charoda police did not register a case, both the women were let off with a stern warning.
 
Although the members of the five families who have been victims of conversion have adopted Sanatan Dharma back, the information coming out of them is astonishing. According to them, during the Corona period, they were instigated for conversion by giving various kinds of inducements; during this time, they were also instigated against the Hindu religion.
  
In recent days, how the reports of conversions are coming from different areas of Chhattisgarh is astonishing. Mainly from the backward belt of Kota, Jashpur, Bemetara, Sukma Raigad and Surguja districts, the news of such conversions comes out daily. If sources are to be believed, the missionaries had set a target of converting about 1 lakh people during the Corona period.
 
More recently, Raipur Police has arrested Naresh Mahananda for forcing 19 children of Mandla district to convert. Naresh is accused of luring children of tribal groups to convert them. The accused was operating an illegal children's home just 5 km from the Ministerial, where he used to incite the children of tribal groups brought from remote areas to convert. The police had rescued 19 children by raiding this children's home.
 
Christian missionaries mainly target tribal groups for conversion. By luring these people living in remote areas, they get them converted. The reason for promoting this fraud in such locations is because the administration in these areas is low, and even if there is a complaint against them, it is suppressed. They have huge funding and network to suppress such complaints. Yet, it will not be an exaggeration that the missionaries also have political support in this hideous game. Without which it cannot be executed on such a large scale.
 
 
People within the tribal society tell that Christian missionaries carry out the conversion cunningly. They gradually make deep inroads among the family members under the pretext of helping. In this game, their religious preachers are so skilled that even neighbours do not even notice the one whom they convert. Then slowly, they instigate others to change religion with the help of that converted person.
 
But for the past one or two years, the circumstances are changing. The tribal society is uniting against these people. Last year itself, the people of the tribal community held a massive protest against the priests and missionaries in Kondagaon. Simultaneously, in many areas of Jashpur and Bastar, there were many demonstrations against the missionaries. It is clear from these voices of protest rising in tribal-dominated areas that the missionaries who were running this conspiracy based on huge funding coming from abroad. With the support of some political elements, their hoax cannot last long in the tribal belt.
 
The tribal society is very sensitive about its roots, and tribes have always considered themselves an integral part of this great Sanatan culture. And perhaps this is the reason that despite spending so much money over the years, missionaries have been able to convert only 6 per cent of the tribal people. Many of them are constantly returning to Sanatan, but the irony is that the state governments, which should stand firmly with these tribes, have turned a deaf ear to this.
 
Chhattisgarh Agriculture Minister Ravindra Choubey, in his statement to the media, said that no conversion is taking place anywhere in the state. I think the Superintendent of Police has written a letter after coming to know about a case. Health Minister TS Singh Deo also deferred the matter saying that if voluntary conversion takes place in the state, it cannot be stopped.
 
Ministers and the state government should also assess the ground reality before making statements on such sensitive issues. The conversion or homecoming of its own accord is undoubtedly within the constitutional scope, but the conversion by spreading fallacy is not only illegal, but it is also pernicious.
 
The government should stop not only such people and institutions but also take strict punitive action against them. Only then may the conflict between the tribal society and these missionaries be prevented.