Even as states across the country are formulating and implementing laws to curb the menace of religious conversions, a raft of people belonging to the Mahadalit community have abandoned their faith and converted to Christianity in Gaya district’s Belwadih village under Naili Panchayat, Bihar. Reports claim the rampant conversions are being carried out under the pretext of curing maladies.
While the residents claim that the conversion is not being forced upon them and happening out of their free will, some locals allege superstitious beliefs are responsible for the conversion of people into Christianity.
Raju Manjhi, one of the villagers said the situation was absolutely normal until the people of his community started visiting the adjoining Wajidpur village for offering prayers. Manjhi says the people who went to Wajidpur have adopted the Christian religion.
“The conversion of Mahadalits (Hindu) to Christianity began from one Kewla Devi, whose son was ill for a long time and was unable to recover from his illness. Someone suggested that she take the help of Christian people for his treatment. Kewla Devi contacted them for her child’s treatment. Soon after, her son recovered from his illness,” Manjhi said while talking about the spate of conversions happening in the area.
Manjhi said soon after Kewla and her family converted to Christianity, there were others in the village who followed the suit and baptised themselves into Christianity.
Another villager said the conversions are happening because Casteism is still prevalent in the region. He said they are proscribed from visiting temples located in adjoining villages. However, the veracity of his claims cannot be independently verified.
“Segregation of society based on one’s caste does not exist in Christianity. A Church is a place where anyone can go and worship God,” the villager argued.
He further added that about 100 people in the village have embraced Christianity and soon, many others will do the same. “Adopting the Christian religion is our own decision. No one has forced or lured us for the same,” he said.
Some women say that before conversion, children used to disappear or fall off rooftops. But such incidents have stopped since they converted to Christianity.