9 Accused of Forcing People to Change Religion During Pandemic in UP, Booked

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Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Nine people have been charged with allegedly coercing 400 people, mostly vendors living in slum areas, to convert to Christianity in Meerut, Uttar Prasesh. The case is registered after a local BJP leader mobilised complainants.

The victims arrived at Brahmaputri police station on Friday with a BJP leader, claiming that the accused persuaded them with money and food in exchange for religious conversion.

The nine accused named in the FIR are Chhabili alias Shiva, Binwa, Anil, Sardar, Nikku, Basant, Prema, Titli, and Rani.

According to the reports, the victims in their complaint said that they were lured to convert to Christianity and they were forced to destroy Hindu gods and goddesses’ idols and other portraits of deities. The accused encouraged the slum dwellers to visit church.

During the Covid lockdown, slum dwellers could not step out and struggled to manage their households. The better off, who lived in buildings in the area, offered food and money for household expenses to them, the complainant told the police, reports NDTV.

However, the people who had helped started telling them that there is only one God — Jesus Christ — and asked them to visit the church and pray to him, the FIR says, adding that the complainants were asked to stop worshipping Hindu Gods and only pray to Christ.

“They also forced us to change our names in our Aadhaar cards. When we were celebrating Diwali, these people entered our houses and tore pictures of Hindu gods and said we should pray to Christ now that we have converted,” the complainant alleged, adding that the alleged intruders started demanding ₹ 2 lakh each when they protested.

The victims, however, stressed that they all are “Sanatan Dharmi (Hindus)” as they were fraudulently converted to Christianity and urged Police to take appropriate legal action against the accused.



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