12 Members of Rajasthan’s Dalit Family Convert to Buddhism

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KOTA, RAJASTHAN — Twelve members of a Dalit family in Rajasthan’s Baran district have converted to Buddhism, allegedly upset over the assault of a family member by a man and the police’s refusal to book the husband of the village sarpanch in the matter, reports PTI.

The news agency quoted Police officer Puja Nagar saying that 12 members of the family of Rajendra of Bhulon village in the Bapcha police station area of Baran district embraced Buddhism on Friday.

They took the oath of conversion and floated the idols and pictures of Hindu deities into the Baithli river of the village.

Everyone is free to choose any religion in the country, the police officer said, adding no other person in the village changed their religion.

The Dalit family reportedly took the step of conversion after they failed to get the name of the sarpanch’s husband incorporated as an accused in an assault case despite submitting a memorandum to the superintendent of police.

The police, however, said they found no evidence against the sarpanch’s husband and added action would be taken against him if he was found involved in the matter.

Rajendra, 32, lodged a case of assault against Lalchand Lodha of the same village on October 5, following which the police lodged a case under relevant sections of the IPC and the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act against the accused and arrested him, Puja Nagar said on Saturday.

A few days later, Rajendra approached the police and demanded that Rahul Sharma, the husband of the sarpanch, be made an accused in the case.

The police said their investigation revealed that Rajendra, accompanied by his two brothers, had reached Lalchand Lodha’s house on the night of October 5 to avenge his assault earlier in the day.

It was also found that Rahul Sharma, the sarpanch’s husband, had reached the spot to meditate and returned home after pacifying both sides.

“The accused, named as Lalchand, was arrested and now the family is levelling allegation against local sarpanch’s husband,” Baran Superintendent of Police Kalyanmal Meena said, adding, “Investigation in the matter is open and if evidence against the sarpanch’s husband is found, action would be taken against him.” 

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