Gzb police lodge FIR over ‘conversion’ claimsUpdated: Oct 26, 2020, 23:44 IST
The police on Monday lodged an FIR against unidentified persons, who claimed on social media that 100 people “converted” to Buddhism on Sunday. The incident comes on the heels of a similar development on October 21, when locals of Valmiki Basti in Karhera claimed that 236 persons “converted” to Buddhism to demand justice for a 19-year-old woman who was allegedly gang-raped and murdered in Hathras.
The FIR was filed on a complaint by advocate Ganga Sharan, who stated that he is the district president of Buddhist Society of India’s Ghaziabad branch and some unidentified persons were spreading false information that he was taking up religious conversion.
“Yesterday (Sunday) on Vijaya Dashmi (Dussehra) that was an event of Budh Vandana held at Jait Van, Budh Vihar. There, we distributed some certificates in prize distribution for an earlier event which was held at Kalka Garhi Chowk on February 16. But some anti-social elements are levying allegations that I was involved in religious conversion. These are false and baseless allegations. The allegations are denied and are only rumours,” Sharan said in a video statement, which was released by the Ghaziabad police on Monday.
However, he did not respond to repeated calls on Monday.
The pictures circulated on social media showed groups of people taking part in an oath. The police registered an FIR under sections 295a (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) and 298 (uttering, words, etc., with deliberate intent to wound the religious feelings of any person) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) at Sihani Gate police station.
“On October 25, there was an event held and some people were spreading false information over the social media that it was an event for religious conversion. The officer bearer of the Buddhist Society of India has given us a complaint in which he has said that there were allegations of religious conversion. We have received a complaint and legal action is under underway,” superintendent of police (city) Abhishek Verma said in a video statement on Monday.
However, he did not take calls for further queries in the matter.
District magistrate Ajay Shankar Pandey said that the administration officials came to know about the incident through social media and directed the officials to conduct an inquiry. “The police have lodged an FIR against unidentified persons in this connection. I have written to the police to identify such persons for spreading false information and lodge FIR against them. I have also directed that we will take action under the National Security Act against such persons,” Pandey said.
“Subdivisional magistrates have been asked to collect information through field officers and collect evidence against such persons, whose list will be compiled by an additional district magistrate. Moreover, I have also directed that any person who helps us arrest such persons or provide information will be suitably rewarded,” Pandey said.
During a recent incident on October 21, locals of Valmiki Basti in Karhera said that 236 persons had “converted” to Buddhism in an event held on October 14 and demanded justice for the Hathras victim.
The district administration, on the other hand, said that the residents had raised their local issues and no religious conversion took place.
A day later, one Montu Chandel Valmiki, a resident of Pappu Colony in Sahibabad, gave a police complaint based on which the Ghaziabad police registered an FIR against unidentified persons under 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).