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Indore: Young woman accuses parents, 7 others of forcing her to convert to Christianity, accused arrested

A young woman in Indore has alleged that her parents deceived her into going to a Christian religious event and there she was pressurized by a group of people to convert to Christianity. The accused have been arrested under Madhya Pradesh's new law against forced conversions.

A woman belonging to Gujarkheda village in Indore, Madhya Pradesh accused nine people including her parents for forcing her to convert to Christianity on January 26. The woman, identified as Shalini Kaushal, filed a complaint regarding her allegations at the Bhanwarkuan police station on Republic Day. In her complaint, alleged that on the said day her parents took her to an alleged conversion event at a Christian Community Hall named Satyaprakashan Sanchar Kendra on the pretext of visiting her grandmother’s house.

SHO Santosh Dudhi told that an FIR was registered against eleven people under the newly enacted Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Ordinance 2020 on Shalini Kaushal’s complaint and nine of them have been arrested. Two accused named Rubin and Vipin are absconding.

Additional Sessions Magistrate Yatindra Kumar Guru rejected the bail applications of the nine arrested after considering the facts of the case.

Many women beat me up and forced me to accept Christianity: Victim

According to reports, Kaushal alleged that she was made to attend the ceremony at the Kendra where people forced her to convert to Christianity. “They told me now I am under the guidance of Lord Jesus and that all my problems will be resolved”, the woman alleged. She reportedly said that there were several Hindus there who were forced to convert. She named her parents, Rakesh Kaushal and Rani Kaushal, and seven others including Ganesh Ninami, Lavina Hatesingh, and Jitendra Meda for trying to forcefully convert her.

The victim said that these people told her that people went to the place out of their own will but were not allowed to leave on their own. “At the event, they kept saying God will help you. Some women beat me up when I tried to leave. They were forcing people to adopt Christianity. I am a Hindu by religion but my parents and others were forcing me to convert”, she said in her complaint.

Women from nearby districts often brought to the center for conversion: Bajrang Dal

The matter was highlighted after some Bajrang Dal activists entered the Kendra during the alleged conversion event. The Bajrang Dal members alleged that women from rural areas of Dhar, Barwani, Alirajpur, Jhabua, Burhanpur, and others were usually brought to the Kendra for conversion. SHO Santosh Dudhi reportedly said that several women have come forward with similar claims.

City in-charge of Bajrang Dal Indore, Tannu Sharma told The Indian Express that Pappu Chandel, a fellow member of Bajrang Dal, received the information about a conversion program being conducted at the Kendra to convert people. He said that after confirming the information, they informed the police about the same and entered the Kendra. Sharma reportedly said that around 250 had gathered inside the Kendra and that they were being brainwashed. They were being told that Christianity was a better religion and that it provided all the answers. Sharma alleged that they were luring people to embrace Christianity by promising financial benefits. These people were alleged invited to the centre by distributing pamphlets.

Organizers deny allegations

In-charge of Satyaprakashan Sanchar Kendra, Father Babu Joseph has denied the allegation of organising a mass conversion event at the Kendra. He said that the community hall is made available for various events. He said that on January 26, it was provided for a prayer service and a leadership programme. He said that some Bajgrang Dal members entered the hall alleging religious conversion. He denied being present during the event.

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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