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Conversion row: Oppn slams govt, FIR against organisers

Conversion of nearly 300 Muslims to Hinduism in Agra created ripples in both the Houses on Wednesday after a united Opposition slammed the government for the ‘shameful act’, while the ruling party leaders passed the buck to the state claiming that law and order is ‘their’ subject.

During the zero hour, the matter was raised in the Rajya Sabha, but soon there was uproar after leaders of Congress and Bahujan Samaj Party (BSP) chief Mayawati lambasted the government by terming the act as ‘attack on the country’s secular harmony’. Other Opposition party leaders including Trinamool Congress MP Sultan Ahmed joined them in the protest and demanded a statement from the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the issue, later in the lower house.

“Our nation is run by a Constitution which has secularism as a pillar. The government should take serious note of the Agra incident and strict action should be taken. This will create communal disharmony in the country,” Mayawati said, while alleging that Bajrang Dal and the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag lured the poor.

On Monday, nearly 300 members of some 60 Muslim families living in a slum on Agra’s outskirts reportedly embraced Hinduism in an event organised by the Bajrang Dal.

The united opposition later raised slogans ‘Pradhan Mantri Jawab Do’ (Prime Minister reply) and demanded a investigation and stern action against the organizers. CPM leader Sitaram Yechury said Prime Minister should come to the House and clarify on the issue. “India is a secular democratic republic and it will remain so. If attempts are made to change it, you will not remain but India will remain,” he said.

Anand Sharma of the Congress said the government should be directed to give a clarification
on the issue.

Reacting over the allegations made by the opposition leaders, Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi, denied the accusation of the RSS being involved. He said, “An FIR has been registered over the issue. Action has to be taken by state government since law and order is a state subject. The Centre has nothing to do with the case.”

Expressing dismay over dragging RSS in to the whole affair, he said, “It is unfair to take name of the organisation for political reasons and the Chair should expunge the same.”

The ‘conversion’ took an ugly turn after a section of Muslim families in Agra district, who the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag on Monday claimed to have ‘converted’ to Hinduism, alleged that that they were misled in the name of BPL cards.

The Bajrang Dal and the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag claimed to have converted the families into Hinduism at a ‘Purkhon ki ghar vapsi’ (Coming home of the ancestors) ceremony.

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