An FIR was registered by Gujarat police against nine Muslims after over 100 tribals from 37 families of the “Vasava Hindu” community, all residents of Kankariya village in Amod taluka of the Bharuch district, embraced Islam.
The police officials said, according to PTI news agency, the nine Muslims converted tribals to Islam using funds collected abroad.
“The accused persons took advantage of the weak economic condition and illiteracy among the members of the tribal community to lure them into conversion to Islam over a long period,” an unidentified cop told PTI.
This comes in the wake of criticisms and accusations from India’s religious minorities that they allege the BJP governments in the Union and states have been criminalising religious conversions. Amid a rising tide of Hindu nationalism in India under Modi, Hindutva groups have long accused minority Muslims and Christians of taking over the country by persuading Hindu women to marry them and financially assisting the Hindus and convert to Islam.
“The illegal religious conversion activity by Muslim fundamentalists using funds collected from abroad was going on for a long time at the village. The accused persons lured the Vasava Hindu community members by offering them money and other help to convert them fraudulently to Islam by entering into a criminal conspiracy hatched to spread animosity between members of two communities and affect peace,” Bharuch police said in a statement.
Nine Muslims booked by the police in BjP-ruling Gujarat include a local man Fefdawala Haji Abdul currently living in London.
All the nine have been charged under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, as well as Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 153 (B)(C) (act likely to cause disharmony), and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code, PTI reported.