The Khunti district administration has sought clarification from the Roman Catholic Church for the alleged conversion of 10 minors on May 22 in the Tamda Sirkatoli area. The area falls under the Tapkara district where the anti-conversion law passed by the state is in enforcement.
The Padre in-charge and others belonging to the Roman Catholic Church have been booked by the Tapkara police after the Khunti administration registered an FIR in the matter. The complaint says that the requisite permissions weren’t taken from the administration as required by the provisions of the Freedom of Religion Act, 2017.
A ToI (Times of India) report on the matter says:
A spokesperson for the Roman Catholic Church, Vijay Gudia, claimed that the function on May 22 was only an initiation ritual of the conversion exercise. He said applications of the minors and their parents are still under consideration by the church.
He said, “The administration has registered the FIR without taking our views into account. We would give our point of view in reply to the notice. The deadline for the notice is June 16.”
He said according to the present law, the person interested in conversion must file an application before the administration, adding that the church has nothing to do with it. It may be mentioned here that the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) had also taken cognizance of the incidence. NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanungo has said, “We would take appropriate action after examining the situation.”
The action by the Khunti administration comes close on the heels of the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) letter to the Superintendent of Police (SP) seeking an inquiry into the religious conversion of 12 tribal children to Christianity in Jharkhand’s Khunti. NCPCR took suo-moto cognizance of news reports and NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo has asked the police to submit an action taken report within 3 days.