Thursday, 11 December 2014 – 7:10am IST | Place: Lucknow/ Agra | Agency: dna

Police have filed an FIR against a Hindu outfit, an RSS offshoot, over the alleged forced reconversion of about 100 people to Hinduism here on Monday. The Sadar Bazaar Police, which filed the FIR, launched investigation into the case against Dharma Jagran Manch and its UP convener Kishore. It has been alleged in the FIR that promises were held out by the organisers which included getting BPL cards and housing plots for those who embraced Hinduism.

What really happened?

On Monday, the Muslim families living in a slum in Agra had been asked to attend anAadhar card registration camp by local VHP-Bajrang Dal workers. The camp had been organized by the Hindu Jagran Manch, an RSS outfit. When the Muslims (about 250) reached the camp, they realized that it was a Hindu religious ceremony. They say that they did not protest out of fear of the heavy presence of VHP-Bajrang Dal volunteers and participated in the programme, and were converted to Hinduism “under duress”.

Is this an isolated incident?

No. The Hindutva outfits functioning under the control of the RSS have started a nationwide campaign innocuously named “ghar wapasi” (return to home). The idea is to reconvert those who had converted to Islam or Christianity. In August, there was a huge furore over 72 Balmikis (Hindu Dalits), who had converted to Christianity about 20 years ago, being reconverted to Hinduism in Aligarh. Similar incidents have been reported from other parts of the country as well.

What has the state govt done so far?

Not much, apart from calling for a report from district level officials. The SP regime either doesn’t know how to handle such situations or is deliberately allowing the fire to simmer for its own vested political benefits of the religious divide. The Hindu Jagran Manch has already announced a programme to be held in Aligarh itself on Christmas day (December 25) to anoint converted Christians as Hindus again.

What is the politics behind this?

Critics of the Sangh Parivar and opposition parties say this is a dangerous game of communal polarization that the BJP is playing for electoral gains. They point out that this is why such incidents are happening more frequently in UP, a crucial state for the BJP, where the Assembly election is due in 2017. Detractors also say the BJP keeps stoking religion-based emotive issues like “love jehad”, “ghar wapasi” and the Ram temple in Ayodhya from time to time to divert public attention from the alleged failure or inaction of the Modi government in handling serious issues like prices and Pakistan.