Secularism questioned after Muslims converted to Hindu in UP

Agra, Dec 10: Politics over religion conversion grew with the allegation by the political parties against the Hindu groups after a large number of Muslim families were allegedly forcefully converted to Hinduism by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Uttar Pradesh.

According to reports, about 57 muslim families were converted to Hinduism at an event couched as Ghar Vapsi (Homecoming Ceremony) organised by the hard-line Hindu groups Dharma Jagaran Manch and Bajrang Dal on Monday in Agra.

However, the participants in the ritual alleged that they were forcefully converted to Hindu. "We were not aware that it was an exercise to convert us to Hinduism. We are Muslims and would continue to be so", said Noor Mohammad, one of the people who alleged that the two Hindu groups, wings of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, had lured them to attend the programme to collect BPL and ration cards.

The Bajrang Dal in its reply said that the families were reconverted to their original religion Hindu at the vent after 25 years.

The BSP strongly condemned the event saying, the secularism is in threat after the saffron party led by Narendra Modi came to power. Party chief Mayawati alleged that the Muslims were converted forcefully.

The new Hindu converts are the resident of the Ved Nagar area on Devri Road of Agra, which is inhabited mostly by Hindu dalits and the Muslims families had migrated from Bengal and Bihar. They are economically backward and earn breads by picking rags and doing odd jobs.

"What is the difference between Allah and Bhagwan? We are Muslim and never converted to Hinduism and would remain Muslim," said Sufia Begum, 60.

Muneera, a woman who stayed away from the ritual, said people were converted so that they give their consent to build a Kali temple on a plot owned by Muslims.

Neighbour Jehangir said he went because he was promised a ration card. Ismail Siddique, a contractor, was changed to Raj Kumar on Monday and was asked to worship Hindu deities. The new converts were apparently given an idol of Kali after a ritualistic purification prayer.

However, Ismail on Tuesday denied having changed his religion. "We are Muslims and never converted to Hinduism."

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