BJP cries foul as family denies forced conversion

BJP up in arms against "forced" conversion in Kasinagar
( [email protected] ) Nov 25, 2003 11:05 AM EST

Paralakhemundi, Kasinagar, India., Nov. 25 - The local unit of the BJP has lodged a complaint at the Kasinagar police station alleging that a family had been illegally converted to Christianity while the head of the family, Mr D Simanchala, said that they had neither been lured nor forced to embrace the religion.

However, the BJP leader, Mr Nalini Kanta Patra, charged that Mr Simanchala, a daily wage earner had been lured to change his religion. “He met with an accident and had become bedridden. Last week, five people visited him and told him that he would be able to walk if he converted to Christianity,” alleged Mr Patra.

The BJP leader said that after convincing Mr Simanchala, the missionaries asked him to dispose certain items from his house but this act drew the attention of the neighbours who raised protests.

“The missionaries, sensing trouble left the area,” noted Mr Patra.

While the BJP is raising a hue and cry over the issue, Mr Simanchala when contacted, said that he had not been forced to convert. He said that his parents had embraced Christianity some years ago, and after his accident he had got himself converted, something that was in the anvil for some months now.

Mr Simanchala also conceded the fact that the pastor who had come to convert him had laid down a few conditions before the conversion which included disposing certain items.

Significantly, neither the missionaries nor Mr Simanchala had informed the district authorities of his decision to convert as is required under the Freedom of Religion Act.

Meanwhile, the local police have started investigating the matter on the basis of the FIR lodged by the BJP.