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Madhya Pradesh: 9 Muslims arrested for Dalit conversions

Three weeks after right-wing organisations re-converted several Dalit members, who had embraced Islam in Khaniyadhana town of Shivpuri district, to Hinduism, the police have arrested nine Muslims, accusing them of initiating the conversion to Islam.

The police said the names of the nine accused were revealed during questioning of Dalit converts who themselves were booked under the Freedom of Religion Act for changing their faith without notifying the district authorities.

“The Dalit members had read Kalma in the local mosque in the presence of these nine persons, including a Kazi, six or seven months ago. There was no ceremony as such but they had accompanied the Dalits,” in-charge of Khaniyadhana police station, Y S Jadaun, told The Indian Express.

Jadaun was unable to explain how the nine persons were arrested under the anti-conversion law when the very people they had been accused of converting to Islam had been re-converted to Hinduism at the town’s Hanuman temple. The re-conversion ceremony had taken place a day after Maniram Jatav, Tularam Jatav and three other family members were arrested and released on bail. 

“Nobody has informed us about the re-conversion,” claimed Jadaun. Maniram and others had been brought to the police station premises by Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad members before taking them to the nearby temple. 

“The police misled us before arresting the nine persons. I was asked to bring them to the police station where they were taken into custody,” said municipal councilor Sajjad Ali. He claimed none of the arrested persons is a Kazi. Most of them are goat traders and offer regular Namaz, he said wondering how the arrest took place when no Dalit member had accused any one of offering money or other enticement. 

“This is victory of Bajrang Dal and VHP. Had we not remained alert many more conversions would have taken place. The arrests have followed our campaign. Had the district administration acted on our complaint before things would not have come to such a pass,” Bajrang Dal leader Manoj Sharma said. According to him, at least one family member of the nine arrested Muslims is based in Dubai and other Muslim countries. Sharma alleged that the nine persons had offered money to the Dalit to convert to Islam after offering them monetary and other help in running small businesses. 

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