After ‘mass conversion’ by Karhera residents, Ghaziabad police files FIR for promoting enmity between groupsUpdated: Oct 22, 2020, 22:54 IST
The Ghaziabad police on Wednesday registered an FIR against unidentified persons for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, in connection with an alleged conversion incident at Valmiki Basti in Ghaziabad’s Karhera earlier this month.
In the FIR, based on a complaint by a Sahibabad resident, it has been alleged that alleged that at least 236 Dalits embraced Buddhism on October 14 to protest the gang rape and murder of a 19-year-old woman Dalit woman in Hathras, Uttar Pradesh, which has sparked outrage across India.
Senior district and police officials, along with the Sahibabad MLA, had rushed to the Valmiki Basti on Wednesday after they had come to know about the alleged conversion. Locals allegedly showed them conversion certificates and raised local issues, besides demanding justice for the Hathras victim.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey had on Wednesday denied that the Hathras issue was raised before him.
He had, however, ordered an inquiry by an additional district magistrate (city) on the basis of which the administration released their report of findings late Wednesday.
The signed report had stated that there is no evidence of religious conversion at Karhera; the conversion certificates which were shown had no names, correct address or even any serial number, besides the date of issuance of the certificates; there are some certificates which are blank and have no details filled in and the local residents have raised their local issues in their memorandum of demands, which mention no issue of conversion.
“We have filed an FIR in connection with the (alleged religious conversion) incident after a man from Pappu Colony in Sahibabad gave us a written complaint. The matter is being investigated and an FIR has been filed against unidentified persons,” said Keshav Kumar, assistant superintendent of police (Sahibabad).
Kalanidhi Naithani, senior superintendent of police, did not take calls when approached for a response on Wednesday and Thursday.
The FIR lodged at Sahibabad police station mentions two IPC sections, 153a (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc) and 505 (statements creating or promoting enmity, hatred or ill, etc).
“Regarding the conversion, the related certificates mention no names, date, addresses or serial numbers and anyone’s name can be written on them. It seems it is a criminal conspiracy intended to promote violence and hatred..,” the complainant alleged in the FIR.
Pawan Valmiki, who headed discussions with the district officials on Wednesday, said he converted to Buddhism on October 14 and had never met the complainant.
“We communicated to the district officials about our decision to adopt Buddhism, when they came here on Wednesday. There are some politicians who are unnecessarily dragging the conversion into a controversy and need to apologise. The certificates have proper names, date, etc., on them while the address mentioned is stated only as Ghaziabad. We have no links with any political party or any agenda but we have heard that an FIR has been filed in the incident,” he added.
Aman, 26, his brother, said rumours were spread about locals of Valmiki Basti having “links to Pakistan and even funding from a political party”.
“This is all we heard ever since Wednesday. Anyone can come to our house and see the conditions we live in. I worked as a motor mechanic with a small roadside shop. My shop was shut during the lockdown. My brother and I are left with no jobs. Anyone can come and check my family’s bank accounts to see if there has been any funding from anyone. Even at this age, I have no bank account in my name,” he said.
“My brother, his wife and my parents also converted to Buddhism on October 14. We did not get anything being a Dalit. So, we converted. But now there is an FIR. I find no reasons for it,” he added.