Uttar Pradesh: FIR Filed Against Nine Over Forced Conversions To Christianity In Meerut, Three Arrested

It's alleged that a group of people initially distributed ration to poor people during Covid-19 lockdowns and then forced them to convert.

Uttar Pradesh police | Image for representation

An FIR has been lodged against nine and three persons have so far been arrested in a case of alleged forced religious conversion in Uttar Pradesh's Meerut.

Meerut Police on Saturday said that an FIR was lodged against nine people and a probe was ordered following allegations of forced religious conversion.

"Three people have been arrested in the case so far. Teams have been formed to arrest the rest," said SP Meerut Piyush Kumar Singh to ANI.

Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Rohit Singh Sajwan said a complaint was received regarding religious conversions and Brahmapuri Police Station had been asked to investigate the matter. 

He added, "On the basis of the preliminary investigation report, a case was registered against nine people, including three women, on Friday. The investigation is going on." 

The complaint was filed by a few residents of Mangatapuram Colony. They alleged that during the early phase of Covid-19 pandemic, some people provided food and financial assistance to the poor living in the area and they later forced these people to convert to Christianity, said police.

"Not only this, pictures of Hindu Gods and Goddesses are also being thrown out by the accused from the houses of the people of Mangatapuram Colony. On protesting or complaining about the incident to anyone, the accused come home with knives and sticks and threaten to kill," according to the complaint. 

While there is no mention of how many people have been converted, local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Deepak Sharma claimed that more than 100 people living from Mangatapuram Colony had allegedly been converted to Christianity.

"This has been going on for the past three years. During the Covid-19 period, the people were given ration and money to convert to Christianity. Now, other people are being threatened to convert as well," Sharma alleged. 

The nine persons named in the FIR are Chhabili alias Shiva, Binwa, Anil, Sardar, Nikku, Basant, Prema, Titli and Reena. They are booked under Sections 3 and 5(1) of the Uttar Pradesh Unlawful Conversion Prohibition Act. 

The incident comes closely after an event converting thousands of people from Hinduism to Buddhism in Delhi attracted the ire of people for allegedly hurtful comments on Hinduism during conversion proceedings. In videos of the incident, converts termed Hinduism as "harmful to the progress of humans".

(With PTI inputs)