Amidst the raging issue of forced conversions in Bihar, a minister in Nitish Kumar’s government has made a comment that could stoke controversy. Minority Welfare Minister Jama Khan on Thursday said that his ancestors were all Hindu Rajputs but they had accepted Islam. He was responding to a question by a reporter about the anti-conversion row going on in Bihar.
Recently, Janak Ram, the mines and geology minister of Bihar, sent a letter to the district authorities in Jamui and Gopalganj alleging the kidnapping and forced conversion of two girls to Islam.
Responding to the question, Khan said that nobody can be converted by force since religion was a matter of love. Holding a pistol to the head cannot convert thousands, he asserted. Elaborating on his forefathers, he said that there were two brothers, Jairam And Bhagwan Singh, in the Saraiyan village of Rajasthan. The two brothers were rivals, and one day Bhagwan Singh accepted Islam.
Even today, he said, he had links with his ancestor’s brother Jairam Singh’s family. “I still have ties to my ancestor’s family in Saraiyan,” he said, adding that the people of his family are Patidars.
On the issue of forced conversions in Bihar, he said that anyone resorting to conversion by force will not survive. Recently, a team from the Vishwa Hindu Parishad met Fagu Chauhan, the governor of Bihar, and conveyed to him their apprehensions about forced conversions in Bihar.