Member of Parliament: Catholic priest, 2 other detained under the anti-conversion law for “having attracted tribal villagers to Christianity”

In a new case of alleged religious conversion, Madhya Pradesh police on Sunday evening arrested three people, including a Catholic church priest and a pastor, in Bicholi village, Jhabua district, for allegedly attracting police tribal villagers towards Christianity by offering them free education and treatment as a missionary. run schools and hospitals.

An FIR was registered based on a complaint filed at Kalyanpura Police Station in which the complainant, identified as Tetiya Bariya (26), said Father Jam Singh Dindore, Pastor Ansingh Ninama and a person from the Mangu name Mehtab Bhuriya allegedly tried to convert tribes to Christianity.

Kalyanpura Police Inspector Dinesh Rawat confirmed the arrest. “Based on the complaint, an FIR for alleged conversion was registered. The police, for their part, recovered a Bible and a pot to hold water on the spot, ”he declared.

Tetiya Bariya, in his written request, said: “On December 26, around 8 am, Father Jam Singh Dindore called me with Surti Bai (another villager) to their prayer room and made us sit in a weekly meeting called for conversion. They sprayed us with water and read the Bible to us.

Tetiya Bariya said they were asked to convert to Christianity and in return their families were promised free treatment in hospitals and free education for children in hospitals and schools run by missionaries. He said they refused to accept the priest’s purported offer and walked out of the prayer room. They then called the police and informed them of the case, he said.

A police team visited Father Jam Singh Dendore’s home on Sunday afternoon and arrested the three. An FIR has been registered against them under Articles 3, 5 and 10 (2) of the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Act 2021.

Jhabua, one of the predominantly tribal Madhya Pradesh districts, is seeing an increase in cases against members of the Catholic Church, alleging a religious conversion.

Last month, in a written request from Azad Prem Singh Damor, president of Adivasi Samaj Sudharak Sangh, an organization affiliated with the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), urged the district administration to remove the names of 56 priests and pastors. of the Catholic Church from the list of tribes in the district.

Damor also asked that they not be allowed to hold prayer meetings. This request was forwarded by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM), Meghnagar, for further action.

Meanwhile, another religious conversion case was registered in Ashoknagar district on December 25 against a man named Javed Khan, based on a complaint from a woman he was in a relationship with. The woman alleged that Javed Khan introduced himself as Rakesh and that the duo had formed a relationship. They lived together for five years and had three children, she said. She learned that Rakesh was a Muslim when he insisted that she embrace Islam with their son, she claimed.

Earlier, on September 17, members of the Christian community wrote to the collector and the police superintendent, with a copy to the President of India, saying that false complaints were being made against them and that they were facing attacks by VHP workers Bajrang Dal. , Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Adivasi Samajh Sudharak Sangh and Hindu Yuva Janjati. One of the people named in the letter was Prem Singh Damor, who heads the Adivasi Samajh Sudharak Sangh.

Madhya Pradesh, as of December 15, has reported 62 cases under Madhya Pradesh’s religious freedom law, known as the anti-conversion law, including at least eight against Christians. The law came into effect in February of this year.

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