Amidst attempts by Christian missionaries to convert non-Christians in tribal areas of Chattisgarh, the Sukma police have given strict instructions to police officers in charge of all the police stations in the district to maintain surveillance over the activities of the Christian missionaries and the converted tribals, reports New Indian Express.
According to the reports, the Sukhma Superintendent of Police has sent a directive to all police stations in the district to keep an eye on the conversion activities of the Christian missionaries, who routinely visit tribal areas to lure them into Christianity. In his letter, Sukhma SP Sunil Sharma has said that the Christian missionaries, along with tribal Christians, routinely venture into several areas of the district to coax the non-Christian tribals to get converted into Christianity.
“Owing to this, the situation resulting into a conflict between the local tribals and those converted (to Christianity) can’t be ruled out”, Sukma SP Sunil Sharma said in his letter.
It is notable here that conflict between Christian missionaries and tribals are an issue in many tribal regions. Also luring tribals into Christianity by promising jobs, money, foodgrains and other benefits have often been reported in remote areas.
The circular accessed by the New Indian Express read, “Maintain a consistent watch over the activities of Christian missionaries and converted tribals residing in the district and report if any of their acts perceived as suspicious”. The SP also directed his junior officers to keep the intelligence network on a high alert.
Speaking to the media, the police officer said that the circular is more preventive in nature rather than prohibitory. He said he sent the directive in response to the religious conversion activities that have happened in the nearby districts, adding that he did not want such a situation to arise in Sukma.
“The police have been asked to gather its own information through their network on religious conversion activities by enticement”, added Sharma, saying everybody has the right to follow their faiths.
Meanwhile, the latest order by the Sukhma SP has upset the Christian community, who have now claimed that the order is pre-meditated.
“The district officials are supposed to protect the Constitutional rights of citizens and not trample them. How could the IPS officer conclude that Christian missionaries are involved in religious conversion without any investigation? Every Indian has the right to move to any place and practise his/her faith,” asserted Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum.
Expressing his anger over Sukhma SP’s communique, Arun Pannalal asked whether the officer had any figures to show if any missionaries had converted tribals or lured them to convert in the last two decades. This is an attempt to create animosity against our religion, he added.
The Christian groups also alleged that the people of their community are repeatedly harassed in the tribal-dominated Bastar.