“Gharwapsi”- a re-conversion program undertaken by Hindu outfits like Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Bajrang Dal became a huge topic of controversy in 2015. The main objective of the program was to bring those Hindus back to Hinduism who were born Hindus and had embraced other religion, specifically Islam and Christianity later in their life due to external influence. As the name suggests, they reconverted ex-Hindus back to Hinduism and never tried to convert born Muslims and Christians. The MSM and the secular, leftist, intellectual and liberal groups had strongly condemned the outfits for this re-conversion program.
One can often see that most of the times, only the two largest minority groups raise their voices against programs like Gharwapsi while other minority groups are relatively silent. That is because the Gharwapsi program had affected these two particular minority groups most. Gharwapsi program was more like a reaction against the routine mass-conversion carried out by several outfits of these two minority religions. You will hardly find Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi or Jew outfits carrying out conversion propaganda in India. Either by force or by bribe, some outfits from these groups aim at increasing their followers.
Similar incident came into public attention when Police arrested nine people in Hyderabad for converting poor Hindu students into Islam.
On November 19, 2017, the Rachakonda Police acted based on the complaint lodged by the officials of Districts Child Welfare and rescued 17 children, including seven girls from a group that was carrying out religious conversions. The children were in the age group of 4 to 14 years. The Police arrested nine persons who were running the Peace Orphan Home Society in the Moula Ali area of Hyderabad. The group was luring Hindu kids from poor families of Telangana and was converting them to Islam by promising them food, shelter and free education. The group lured children from poor SC/ST Hindu families, especially those from tribal and acute poverty-laden areas of Telangana like Bhadrachalam, Mahabubnagar, Khammam and Warangal. These group brainwashed the kids and instead of teaching them providing them regular education, they forced them to learn Arabic and Urdu and made them study religious texts. Police found copies of the Religious Text and scriptures in their homes. Cops have learnt that the parents of some of these children were also converted to Islam, but this is yet to be verified.
The prime accused Mohammad Siddique aka Burugupalli Satyanarayana is a native of Rajah-mundry.
He himself converted to Islam during 2003-2004 with the help of a Muslim organisation. Following his conversion, he married a Muslim woman. Police believes that he became the part of a conversion-racket some two years ago. Out of the nine men, Mohammad Siddique and two of his partners-in-crime are converts to Islam. Apart from Siddique, the other members arrested are as follows:-
- Motakothula Praveen alias Abdullah
- Syed Abdullah
- Mohammed Shakeel Ahmed
- Mohammed Ismail
- Abdullah alias Bathina Someshwar Rao
- Amer Mohammed Rabbani.
- Mohammed Fiazudddin.
Mohammad Siddique started the Orphanage Home in Warangal two years ago and was running a school-and-hostel in Hyderabad since last year. The foundation is completely illegal and does not have any permissions from concerned departments. Police is investigating the source of funds for the group and suspects that the group was receiving funds from different people. Police believes that at least 15-20 people are involved in this case and is investigating whether the thug Mohammad Siddique was involved in any previous cases of religious conversion.
The accused who themselves had converted to Islam in the past, intentionally kept Hindu names to ease the process illegal conversions. Another reason to retain their Hindu names was to obtain reservation facility for future government jobs. During interrogation, the group admitted that they were of the opinion that they could convert huge number of poor Hindus to Islam using their position. The group was so clever that in order to evade any suspicion, they did not change the original names of the kids in their certificates. However, the culprits did give each student a new name. ACP G. Sandeep said, “the men changed the faith of the children, but kept their names intact. Since all the kids belonged to backward communities, they would be eligible for government services when they grow up. In this way, they were planning to convert more people to Islam”.
When BJP’s Ramnath Kovind was nominated for the Presidential election, many of the secular brigades accused BJP of playing Dalit politics. Some news channels evens published some past statements by Sri Ramnath Kovind to show him in communal light. Back in 2010, he protested against the inclusion of Muslim and Christian converts among the Scheduled Castes. Today, we can see how people like Mohammad Siddique, who have the reservation facility, try to use this loophole as a tool to carry out religious conversions in the garb of social welfare of the backward people.
Mohammad Siddique’s statement that they could use their position to carry out religious conversion is a shocking alarm for the society. In fact, there is a possibility that many government employees may be involved in this racket. According to a report published by DeccanChronicle on 24 November 2017, Rachakonda Police had arrested a forest officer working in the Eturunagaram agency area for his involvement in the case. The Hyderabad religious conversion racket is a deep one and the forest officer has been identified as Amer. Amer hails from Warangal district and he knew where the backward and tribal communities were located. He targeted them and got two children from Warangal for the group. Amer was in charge of supplying children for the group.
Earlier, Islamist conversion agents used to pressurize their victims using coercive techniques like Love Jihad, forceful conversions, etc. to convert them to Islam. But, due to social awareness over Social Media, these groups have changed their tactics and adapted the smoother schemes similar to those used by Christian Missionaries for religious conversions.
Instead of forcing anybody to convert to Islam, Mohammad Siddique and his group played tactfully by approaching poor families and tried to lure their children to Islam by promising food, shelter and education.
Telangana government needs to implement strong anti-conversion law like states of Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh and Arunachal Pradesh. There are many poor, tribal and backward people in Telangana, who are potential targets of these conversion-agents. There is a possibility that such institutions, which carry out conversion, are spread throughout Telangana. After all, Police had found another such institution in Kakinada, which carries out such religious conversions. After all, it was in Kakinada where Mohammad Siddique had embraced Islam with the help of a Muslim organization.
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