CBI launches probe in religious conversions in Bengal | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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CBI launches probe in religious conversions in Bengal

ByNeeraj Chauhan, New Delhi
Mar 22, 2023 03:36 AM IST

CBI has launched a probe into alleged forced conversions to Islam in West Bengal’s Malda district , people familiar with the development said.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has launched a probe into alleged forced conversions to Islam in West Bengal’s Malda district , people familiar with the development said.

CBI launches probe in religious conversions in Bengal. (Representative Image)
CBI launches probe in religious conversions in Bengal. (Representative Image)

It acted on the orders of Calcutta high court, which asked the agency to probe allegations by two women from Kaliachak area in Malda, who alleged their husbands were forcefully converted to Islam after they went missing on November 24, 2021, some six months after assembly polls results were declared on May 2 of that year. They claimed a complaint was filed before West Bengal police, but it didn’t take any action.

A preliminary enquiry (PE) , precursor to the first information report , has been registered to investigate allegations by the women that their husbands “had been forced to convert to Islam by threat or intimidation or under influence of drugs,” said an official, who didn’t want to be named.

Also read: Sisodia capable of destroying evidence: CBI to Delhi court

The probe will also focus on a political conspiracy in the matter. “It has also been alleged that the forced conversions are part of punishment for supporting a rival political party,” according to the PE, a copy of which has been reviewed by HT.

The federal anti-corruption probe agency will also investigate inaction by Malda’s superintendent of police despite the women filing a complaint on December 8, 2021.

There are “allegations of abduction and random forcible conversion, cross-border infiltration, threats and intimidation inter-alia by accumulation and storage of huge quantities of arms, ammunition and counterfeit currency”, according to the PE, registered by CBI’s Kolkata unit on March 9.

The high court issued two orders – on May 19, 2022, and March 20 this year – in this matter on the petition of Kalabati Mondal and her sister.

In its order on May 19, the high court said, “The petitioners have alleged that their husbands were forced to convert to Islam by threat, intimidation and/or under influence of drugs. It is also alleged that the forced conversion is a part of a punishment for supporting a rival political party. It is surprising to note that despite receipt of complaints, the inspector-in-charge, Kaliachak police station has not registered FIRs and Malda SP has not ordered any steps, as were required to be taken.”

The state government, during the hearings, argued the husbands of the petitioner had left them because of family disputes and had converted to Islam voluntarily.

In its order last month, the high court directed the CBI to file a PE in the conversions and begin investigations.

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