Rampur, April 15: In an attempt to save their houses from demolition, more than 800 Valmikis in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district on Tuesday embraced Islam.
According to report in Times of India, panic had gripped the Valmiki families after civic authorities allegedly painted red marks on their houses as a part of demolition drive a few days ago.
It is reported that Valmikis were issued a threat a few days ago and that they converted to Islam only when left with no option.
The report said Valmikis chose Ambedkar's 124th birth anniversary to embrace Islam. Rampur is a Muslim-dominated area.
It is reported that demolition of their houses would pave the way for building a shopping mall which is said to have the backing of UP Minister and Rampur strongman Azam Khan.
The report said no special ritual or ceremony was held during their conversion to Islam but the Valmiki families went ahead with their self-announced conversion.
Meanwhile, continuing with their protest against proposed demolition, the Valmikis have announced that they will boycott cleaning and sanitation work from Wednesday.
Azam Khan's close aide on Tuesday announced that the demolition drive would continue "irrespective of any caste or religion."
Protesting the said conversions, BJP workers in Kanpur burnt an effigy of Azam Khan.