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16 Arrested For Trying to Influence Tribals For Religious Conversion in Dumka

Birendra Hembram, one of the preachers, acknowledged that they were spreading the values of Christianity but refuted allegations of trying to proselytise locals.

Alok Kumar | News18dmalok

Updated:July 8, 2018, 4:10 PM IST
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16 Arrested For Trying to Influence Tribals For Religious Conversion in Dumka
Birendra Hembram, one of the preachers, acknowledged that they were spreading the values of Christianity but refuted allegations of trying to proselytise locals.
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Ranchi: Sixteen people having links with Christian Missionaries have been arrested in tribal-dominated Dumka district of Jharkhand for allegedly trying to lure villagers to convert to Christianity. All have been sent to judicial custody.

Those arrested include seven women and nine men. The preacher group landed in Phoolpahari village in a mini bus on Thursday night to force religious conversions as alleged by villagers. They appealed the Santhal tribes not to go to Jaherthan, their place of worship, after which some locals protested against it, complainant Ramesh Murmu told News18.

The villagers informed Shikaripara police station on Friday where a case under section 295 (A) of the IPC and Section 4 of Jharkhand Freedom Of Religion Bill, 2017 was registered.

Shikaripara happens to be one of the country's most backward areas and a stronghold of Maoists.

They were produced before a local court which sent them to 14 days of judicial custody.

Main complainant Ramesh Murmu and Shyam Marandi, who is Block president of twenty point progam, alleged that despite opposition from the locals they continued to motivate them for conversion.

“Preachers told us that they had the mandate from the government but we resisted. We did not allow their efforts to baptize local innocent tribals,” Shyam Marandi said.

However, Birendra Hembram, one of the preachers, acknowledged that they were spreading the values of Christianity but refuted allegations of trying to proselytise locals.

Dumka Superintendent of Police, Kaushal Kishore, told News18 that the matter was being investigated by an Inspector rank officer.

Under the Religious Freedom Act, passed by the Raghubar Das government last year, trying to convert through coercion or allurement is non-bailable offence and doing so can invite three years of imprisonment. If anyone tries to convert a person from Scheduled Caste or Tribe then the jail term would be four years.

Under the law, if a person wants to adopt any other religion then he or she will have to inform the District Commissioner and seek permission for that. If the DC permits, then information about the place and date of conversion along with who would supervise it have to be submitted, the law stipulates.


| Edited by: Ashutosh Tripathi
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