On Tuesday, the district administration in Odisha’s Bhadrak took swift action over the complaints of religious conversions of innocent tribals to Christianity. The administration sealed the Church in Geluta, imposed Section 144 in the area, and issued orders allowing not more than three persons to gather in the vicinity of the church.
This is after the administration received several complaints about local innocent tribals being forcibly converted to Christianity. According to the reports, a joint inquiry made by the Executive Magistrate and IIC of Rural PS revealed that the peace between the communities around the Church situated at Geltua village under Bhadrak Block of Odisha was disturbed.
Odisha | There were complaints regarding tribals conversion to Christianity. We found out that there is some breach of peace b/w communities. Dist admin has enforced Section 144 in Geltua, 3 persons are allowed to gather in vicinity of Church: Manoj Patra, Sub Collector, Bhadrak pic.twitter.com/Ef0AMYgdGu— ANI (@ANI) May 23, 2022
“There were complaints regarding tribals being converted to Christianity. We found out that there is some breach of peace between communities. District administration has enforced Section 144 in Geltua, three persons are allowed to gather in the vicinity of the Church,” said Manoj Patra, Sub Collector of Bhadrak.
Past instances of forced religious conversions in Odisha
This is not the first time when the incident of religious conversion to Christianity has come to light in the state of Odisha. Earlier, in September 201, a Christian priest was detained by a group of villagers over charges of forced conversion in Tangardihi village in the Sundargarh district of Odisha. The priest, identified as Mahendra Sahu, was a regular visitor to the Tangardihi village. According to the villagers, he would come to the village in a bid to convert Hindus to Christianity.
Also, in the year 2018, a man was mercilessly beaten up by his Christian wife and mother-in-law in Odisha’s Gajapati district after he refused to convert to Christianity. Victim Thabir Panda and their wife Surabhi had lawfully married each other in Bhawanipatna court in 2014. Thabir’s refusal to renounce Hinduism post his marriage had resulted in continuous differences between the couple. Reportedly, Panda was attacked by Surabhi and her mother for refusing to convert to Christianity.
In the present case, the Bhadrak administration has sealed the gates of the Church located at Geltua village, imposed Section 144 in the area, and issued orders to allow three persons to gather in the vicinity of the church.