Other States

Conversion confusion continues from Bihar

Even as the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat declared on Saturday in Kolkata that those who left the Hindu fold out of allurement or coercion by others would be brought back, conflicting reports of poor Hindu families converting to Christianity continued to come in from different parts of Bihar.

After Bhagalpur, the latest reports of poor families converting to Christianity and thereafter re-converting to Hinduism have come in from Munger district of the state.

Officials said that eight members of poor Mahadalit caste had converted to Christianity in Ratanpura village of Jhikuli panchayat under Sangrampur block in Munger district but later they “returned” to their parent religion after intervention of officials, villagers and family members.

Speaking to The Hindu, a number of local people in Munger district said that similarly over hundred people from 25 poor families living near a Church in Vijaynagar village of Bariyarpur block too have recently converted to Christianity.

They also said that one could find books related with Jesus Christ in their households.

One of those converted recently in Ratanpura village, Prakash Manjhi, even had performed last rites of one of his mother through Christian rituals and practices of putting the dead body in a graveyard, said a local.

The eight Mahadalit members, said Amrendra Prasad Singh, District Magistrate of Munger, however, had admitted before an inquiring official’s team that they had started following Christianity after being “inspired” by a local priest Sukhlal Soren.

“But, Soren later said that it was not a conversion as the villagers had just expressed their faith in Jesus Christ to lead a life of dignity and honour”, Mr Singh told The Hindu over phone.

Earlier, a team of officials led by local Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajvansh Singh had reached to the village to ascertain the truth behind the reports and said that the eight members of the mahadalit families opted for Christianity have again come to Hinduism.

“They had changed their religion to Christianity but when the villagers and their daughters and sisters persuaded them they again returned back to their religion”, Narendra Manjhi, a villager of Ratanpura said.

Earlier, five members of an extremely backward caste had reportedly converted to Christianity in a village in Bhagalpur but later they said they had never changed their religion and were “still a Hindu”.

They even had made an affidavit to the local police that they had never converted to Christianity and had just made prayer to Jesus Christ to get rid of an ailment.

The local RSS leaders and workers even had claimed that all the five have again been re-converted to Hinduism. though, there were no ceremony of ghar-wapsi was held in the village. The local police too had not found any sign of “conversion or re-conversion” ceremony taken place in the village.

However, Radhe Kishore Sharma, a local of Munger town told The Hindu that a number of poor mahadalit, tribal and extremely backward caste people have recently been converted to Christianity in the district for the better life, medical facility and education to their children.

A number of Churches too have sprung up in the district in last few years, he said.

“But, we donot have any idea how many of them have re-converted to their parent religion”, he told The Hindu.

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Printable version | Oct 22, 2020 9:48:08 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/conversion-confusion-continues-from-bihar/article6712933.ece

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