Jharkhand cops probe south Indian institution’s role in Dumka ‘conversion’ case

During investigation, some accused revealed their association with a south India-based institution. Its name cannot be divulged until it is verified, police said.
The 16 preachers, including seven women, were arrested on charges of luring tribal villagers to convert to Christianity in Jharkhand’s Dumka district.(AFP File Photo)
The 16 preachers, including seven women, were arrested on charges of luring tribal villagers to convert to Christianity in Jharkhand’s Dumka district.(AFP File Photo)
Published on Jul 09, 2018 08:24 PM IST
Copy Link
Hindustan Times, Ranchi | By

Jharkhand police are probing a south India-based institution’s role in Dumka’s alleged conversion case, in which 16 Christian preachers were arrested on Saturday, the first since an anti-conversion law came into effect in the tribal state in September last year.

“During investigation, some accused revealed their association with a south India-based institution. Its name cannot be divulged until it is verified,” said Kaushal Kishore, Dumka superintendent of police (SP).

He said five of the 16 arrested have been identified as key players. “They would be taken into remand,” he added.

The 16 preachers, including seven women, were sent to judicial custody on charges of luring tribal villagers to convert to Christianity in Jharkhand’s Dumka district, around 310 km northeast from Ranchi.

They were booked under section 4 of Jharkhand Religious Freedom Act, which came into force in September 2017, and section 295A and 34 of Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Police had detained 25 religious preachers, including 14 women on a complaint by Phulpahari villagers in Shikaripara. Apart from the 16, the role of others would be investigated, the SP said.

The police are also investigating West Bengal’s connection with the case, as 10 out of 16 people had come from a neighbouring district in the state.

“Among the arrested people, majority had come from Birbhum district of West Bengal and the rest were from Shikaripara, Dumka and Pakur,” the SP said.

The preachers had visited Phulpahari, a village with 68 houses and population of 323 people, on Thursday night and were allegedly luring villagers to convert into Christianity. The villagers, led by its head Ramesh Murmu, however, held the preachers hostage for the night and handed them over to the police next morning.

Murmu had told police that the preachers had visited their settlements earlier also with the same motive and the villagers had asked them to refrain from entering their village, as it has no Christian population.

The villagers in their complaint said the preachers criticised other religions and were forcing them to convert to Christianity.

Meanwhile, Rashtriya Isai Mahasangh (RIM), a socio-religious body of the Christian community, has sent a fact-finding team to the village.

“We can say anything on the issue after team’s report comes to us. But, if the preachers had gone to village only for preaching, it is not any crime,” said RIM national general secretary Prabhakar Tirkey.

“Preaching religious belief is everyone’s fundamental right. But, here in Jharkhand, fear is spread in the name of law. Besides, the government is also trying to defame Christian missionaries by doing such activities,” Tirkey said.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Sanjoy Dey is principal correspondent in Jharkhand and writes on government, urban development, forest and environment, tourism, rural development and agriculture. He likes to write human interest stories.

Close Story
QUICKREADS

Less time to read?

Try Quickreads

  • Noida: Fire broke out at an ATM kiosk, engulfed multi-storey building.

    Fire at ATM kiosk engulfs multi-storey building in Noida | Video

    A fire suspected to have started at an ATM kiosk in Noida Friday night engulfed the four-storey building, news agencies reported. The fire broke out around 10pm at a multi-storey residential-cum-commercial building in the crowded Bhangel area, prompting the deployment of firefighters, reported PTI citing officials. A short circuit at the ATM is believed to have triggered the fire, spreading into the other floors of the four-storey building.

  • Mukesh's cart stands outside the bus terminus in Delhi’s Anand Vihar, and is decked with ears of the golden corn.

    Delhiwale: Bhutta returns, in a new chulha

    Very many of the bhutta vendors, who will soon pop up through the Delhi region, source their bhuttas from Azadpur Sabzi Mandi. But Mukesh gets his directly from a region where they are grown in great quantity, he says, close to his native Moradabad.

  • A view of the Amar Jawan Jyoti memorial at India Gate, in New Delhi. (Jasjeet Plaha/HT Archive)

    Symbol to honour martyrs shifted from India Gate to War Memorial

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated National War Memorial (NWM) three years ago, on February 25, 2019, and since then, millions of people have visited the memorial and paid homage to the country’s fallen heroes whose names are inscribed on its walls.

  • The maximum temperature at five of the 11 weather stations in Delhi breached the 40°C mark on Friday. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

    Heatwave not likely in Delhi for a few days, says IMD

    Delhi's maximum temperature rose by three degrees on Friday to settle at 39.3 degrees Celsius (C), which, according to the India Meteorological Department, was still a degree below what is considered the normal for this time of the year. The officials added that no heatwave conditions are expected in the national capital for the next five days. The maximum temperature at five of the 11 weather stations in Delhi breached the 40C mark on Friday.

  • A view of the under constructed site after it collapsed, at Phirni Road, Mundka, in New Delhi, India, on Friday, May 27, 2022. (HT Photo)

    1 dead, 2 hurt as building falls in outer Delhi

    Deputy commissioner of police (outer) Sameer Sharma identified the deceased man by his first name as Manas, a resident of Prem Nagar, and the injured as Gareeb Shah (54) and his son Sachin Kumar (age unknown), residents of Bhagat Singh Park area.

SHARE
Story Saved
×
Saved Articles
Following
My Reads
Sign out
New Delhi 0C
Saturday, May 28, 2022