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Jharkhand: Dalit woman files complaint against Christian villagers alleging torture to forcefully convert her family, harassment of minor daughter

A woman health worker of Jamdih village of Gumla district of Jharkhand has lodged an FIR at Kurkura police station alleging that some villagers are torturing her family members to accept Christianity. The complainant, who belongs to a Scheduled Caste, said that assailants even sexually abused her daughter who is now in a state of shock.

On the basis of the written complaint of the woman, Gumla police lodged an FIR on August 30 under sections 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 341 (punishment for wrongful restraint), 295 (Injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 504 (Intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of the peace), 448 (punishment for house-trespass), 506 (punishment for criminal intimidation), 509 and (insult the modesty of any woman) of IPC, section 4 (forceful conversion) of Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act and section 8 (sexual assault of a minor) of POCSO Act. The village is situated about 70 km from Gumla district headquarters which is worse affected by left-wing extremism.

Sources in the police confirmed that an FIR has been registered in the case stating that an investigation has been assigned. The officer in charge of the Kurkura police station is investigating the case. The complainant has named Paulina Bilung, Akash Dungdung, Nisha, Sheila, Phoolmani Surin, Urmila, Santoshi, Janki, Shital Ram, Gangi Devi, Akash Dungdung and Sushila Devi in the complaint. All of them are followers of Christianity. The woman said that the accused came to her residence on August 14 asking the family to accept Christianity. The victim who belongs to the Scheduled Caste refused, stating that she was happy with her current faith.

An altercation took place among them and soon the accused became violent. They threw the religious flag from the house and also sexually abused and misbehaved with her 16-years-old daughter. The attackers pulled the clothes of the girl and said that they will marry her and then convert her to Christianity.

The woman said that accused persons also instigated the villagers against her family.

Gumla has been the centre stage of religious conversion by Christian missionaries. Notably, according to media reports, during the lockdown last year Christian missionaries had converted a large number of people.

During the regime of the Raghubar Das government, the religious conversion remained under control. The Raghubar Das government in 2017 had brought the Freedom of Religion Act making any fraudulent and forcible conversion as an offence, with a penalty of a 3-year sentence and a fine of Rs 50,000. But the church had opposed the law.

 

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Staff reporter at OpIndia

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