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Pune: 14 booked for forcing Hindus to convert to Christianity, earlier 3 were charged for offering red grape juice as the ‘blood of Jesus Christ’

Salunkhe, a resident of the Markal region in Khed complained that he was being harassed by the accused persons who forced him and his family members to convert their religion to Christianity.

On Monday, the Pimpri Chinchwad Police registered a complaint against 14 persons including a minor for attempting to forcefully convert a few Hindu people from the Khed region of Pune to Christianity. The accused also are charged with causing religious hatred and hurting the religious sentiments of Hindus.

According to the FIR copy attained by OpIndia, the complaint has been registered by a Hindu person named Prasad Salunkhe on January 15. The accused booked in the case have been identified as Pradip Waghmare, Prashant Waghmare of Charholi, Ronak Shinde, Ashok Pandhare, Tejas Chandne, Mukesh Vishwakarma, Lakshman Naidu, M B Yun, J Yun, and Ishal Salve. Three women and a 17-year-old boy have also been named in the FIR.

Salunkhe, a resident of the Markal region in Khed complained that he was being harassed by the accused persons who forced him and his family members to convert their religion to Christianity. “On January 15, two persons Pradip Waghmare and Prashant Waghmare came into our locality and asked me if I knew anything about Christianity. They also asked me to read Bible and convert my religion to Christianity for a better life.”

“Later, they saw photos of Hindu Gods and Goddesses in our home and began abusing them. The duo said that I should go to Church and worship Jesus. I told them that I am a Hindu and I read only Shiv Charitra Parayan. Then they said that reading Hindu scriptures were of no use and that worshipping Hindu Gods would never do any good to us,” Salunkhe complained.

FIR copy obtained by OpIndia

Accused called Hindu Gods ‘beggars’

He further mentioned that the duo also abused the Hindu Gods and called them ‘beggars’. “They saw Vasudev avatar on the street in the morning and asked me who was he. I told them that he is our God and he was seeking ‘Bhiksha’ from the Hindu residents. On this, the duo said how will your God protect you when he is begging for food. I could not tolerate the insult and called two of my friends who informed me that many similar people were targeting Hindus and forcing them to convert their religion to Christianity. We later called the Police who verified the complaint and identified 14 accused persons who were luring Hindus for money and asking them to convert their religion to Christianity,” the complaint read.

14 accused persons named in the FIR filed on January 15

A similar incident was reported from the Alandi region of Pune on January 1 where three Christian persons were caught red-handed while attempting to forcefully convert people from the Matang community to Christianity. The accused visited the Sathe Nagar area of Alandi and asked a few Hindu families if they read Bible. Later the accused persons began informing the Hindu persons about Christianity and forced them to convert their religion to Christianity.

The video of the incident went viral over social media platforms in which one of the women could be seen praising the religion of Christianity. The accused persons also reportedly used hurtful language against the Hindu religion. Later one of the women tricked the Hindu persons by offering them red grape juice and made them believe that it was the blood of Jesus Christ. She told them that all their health problems and worries would vanish upon consuming the ‘blood of Jesus Christ.’

The incident came to the fore after one of the local Hindu persons named Uddhav Nagnath Kamble filed a complaint at Alandi Police Station. He said that the accused persons were luring the Hindu persons for money and were forcing them to convert their religion to Christianity. He mentioned in the complaint that accused Sudhakar Suryavanshi and his pals entered the Sathe Nagar locality on January 1 and attempted to convert him and other Matang community people to Christianity.

FIR copy obtained by OpIndia

According to the information attained by OpIndia, the Alandi Police initially ignored the complaint but later took cognizance of the incident and verified that the Hindu persons, residents of Sathe Nagar in Alandi were offered red grape juice and were forced to convert their religion to Christianity. The Police on January 4 then filed an FIR against three persons, one of whom has been identified as Sudhakar Baburao Suryavanshi.

The Police said that Suryavanshi along with his two pals targeted the Hindus and told them that converting their religion to Christianity would solve all their financial and health-related problems. “You start worshipping Jesus. All your health problems will vanish. Leave the Hindu religion and accept Christianity,” Suryavanshi told the Hindus.

Red grape juice offered to Hindus as the ‘blood of Jesus Christ’

Shedding more light on the incident, one of the members of Hindu Dharma Jagran Manch from the Nigdi region of Pune, N Kamble said that the accused persons were caught red-handed while they were offering the red grape juice to Hindus. “We had gone to Alandi to invite people for Matang Melava which was supposed to be conducted in Bhosari, Pune. As we went to the Sathe Nagar area of Alandi, we saw that some of the people were luring the Matang community people and were asking them to read Bible and convert their religion to Christianity.”

“Upon exposing their attempt to convert Hindus to Christianity, one of the women who was offering the red juice to Hindus as the blood of Jesus Christ began ranting against us and the Hindu religion. She said that we were disturbing their religious prayers and that we were committing a sin,” Kamble said while talking to OpIndia.

He said that the Alandi Police also did not respond appropriately to the incident initially unless the Dharma Jagran Manch people along with Uddhav Nagnath Kamble repeatedly complained against the accused. “The Alandi Police filed FIR against three persons after requesting them several times,” Kamble added.

“The incident is from January 1. The Christian Pastor had already lured some of the Hindus from the area and had told small children that Hindus are devils,” Kamble said. He said that after January 1 they went to the Sathe Nagar area of Alandi but were made to run off by small children who called them ‘devils’. “The Pastor has converted some Hindus to Christianity. He has made the poor Matang community people in Alandi believe that all their health problems have vanished because they have started worshipping Jesus. This is a total sham,” he said while speaking to OpIndia.

“One converted woman from the Matang community told us that she had spent Rs 6 lakhs on her medical treatment but recovered only after she prayed to Jesus. Another one also said that earlier she had spent Rs 3 lakhs on her husband’s treatment but he recovered only by praying to Jesus. Meanwhile, their children have started to believe that Hindus are devils. This should stop at any cost,” Kamble said.

Massive protests organized in Pune demanding anti-conversion law

After the incident massive protest was organized by the Hindu community in Pune on January 14. Around thousands of Hindus from nearby areas including Alandi, Nigdi, and Pimpri Chinchwad joined the protest against forceful conversion and demanded the implementation of anti-conversion laws across the state of Maharashtra.

However, Nationalist Congress Party leader Ajit Pawar wrote a letter to the Maharashtra CM demanding protection for the Christian people. In a letter dated January 13, he said that the Christian people were unnecessarily being harassed and that the government needs to do justice to the community.

In the current case, Salunkhe stated that the 14 accused reportedly enticed individuals to attend church by paying them money to manage their businesses. The suspects have been charged under Sections 153 (a), 298, and 34 of the Indian Penal Code. According to the reports, the accused had come for ‘Dharmaprasar (religious propagation)’ in the Markal region of Khed district. No arrests have been made yet, but notices have been sent to the accused for inquiry.

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Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani
Siddhi Somani is known for her satirical and factual hand in Economic, Social and Political writing. Having completed her post graduation in Journalism, she is pursuing her Masters in Politics. The author meanwhile is also exploring her hand in analytics and statistics. (Twitter- @sidis28)

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