Mayawati stands up against mass conversion in Uttar Pradesh in the name of BPL cards
The incident, in which a 'ghar vapsi' or reconversion ceremony was carried out in the Madhunagar slum in Agra, has caused widespread condemnation, after the Muslims involved said that they were led to believe that they had no idea that the plan was to reconvert them to Hinduism.
The conversion was initiated by the Bajrang Dal and the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag. Mayawati alleged that that the people were bribed and forced to convert to Hinduism, and said that the government needed to respond to these serious allegations.
"It is the responsibility of the party that comes to power to ensure people are allowed to follow their faiths without facing any discrimination. It is the responsibility of the government to ensure that forcible conversions do not take place," she added.
The embarrassed Bajrang Dal is now claiming that the families are changing their stories due to fear.
Bajrang Dal functionary Ajju Chauhan confirmed to Times of India that the re-conversion had indeed taken place, but will the full consent of those involved. "All these people have Hindu ancestors. They just did 'ghar vapsi'," he said, adding, "They were not lured by ration cards or houses. They wanted to lead clean lives."
"I strongly object to this term conversion. Why don't you call it homecoming?" Prakash Sharma, former national convenor of Bajrang Dal told the Hindustan Times.
Conversion was initiated by the Bajrang Dal and the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibh
As for the new Hindu 'reconverts' - they are back to offering namaz. The Times of India report quotes village 'pradhan' Ismail as saying he had offered namaz on Tuesday after no one from the saffron outfits turned up in their neighbourhood.
Responding to the opposition in Parliament, Minister of State for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi told the Rajya Sabha that as far as he was aware a FIR had been filed in the case of forced conversions.
"To my knowledge FIR has been registered over the issue," Naqvi told the Rajya Sabha.
The minister also told the opposition that it was wrong to drag in any organisation into the issue for political reasons.
[With agency inputs]