Vanvasis of the Uraon tribe protested against grooming jihad in Chhattisgarh’s Jashpur, 400 kilometers away from the state capital Raipur. A video of residents of a tribal-dominated village in the Jashpur district taking out a rally chanting the slogans of “Love Jihad band Karo” (stop love Jihad) and “Adivasi Ekta Zindabad” (long live Adivasi unity) has emerged.
Community members protested after Danish Qureshi eloped with a minor Uraon girl. The police recovered the girl later but have not clarified if the accused would be booked under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012. Uraon tribe has been classified as Scheduled Tribe.
An FIR (number 76/2022) was filed on July 11 at the Sanna police station. The girl’s mother, Sudha Bhagat, registered the complaint. “On 9 July around 7 in the evening, her daughter, who is 17 years and 11 months old, went somewhere with Danish Qureshi, a resident of Sanna village. Danish lured her into eloping with him”, Bhagat has alleged.
The girl reportedly went missing after she went out under the pretext of getting something to prepare the evening meal. When she did not return, Sudha began searching for her. When the family members couldn’t locate her, they reached Danish’s home. The family forcibly entered his house but found no one there. Subsequently, they registered a complaint of kidnapping against Qureshi. The police booked Qureshi under IPC section 363 (kidnapping).
Swarajya Mag report on the matter says:
Swarajya called the victim’s father, Jai Man Bhagat, on 15 July. He said that the girl had recovered and right now, he was at the police station with her. He called Swarajya later in the evening and said that the girl had told the police she wanted to live with Qureshi.
Asked where the girl was, the father said that the police had taken their daughter to the district hospital for some medical tests in the day and now, she was sleeping as she was tired. Asked if they knew about Danish, he said that he was a schoolmate of his daughter.
Jai Man said he works in the state agriculture department as a labourer. He has two children; the other is a boy, who is younger than the girl. He said, “We will not let the boy take our daughter. We have raised her and educated her. If she now wants to go with a Muslim, that will not work with us.” He said that though many from his community were not supporting him in his fight and had ostracised him, he would get his daughter back at any cost…
…A local reporter who shared the video of the “love jihad” on social media, arranged a call for Swarajya with a local advocate named Ram Prakash Pandey. The latter said that Jashpur is a secluded area with no train connectivity. “Only buses run here,” he said. “ It is a forest area with 65 percent tribal population. The majority of the tribal population is from Uraon tribe. The girl belongs to this tribe”…
…Swarajya spoke briefly with the in charge of the Sanna police station. He said that the girl was recovered on 15 July. However, he did not reveal the area from where they had recovered her. The officer said that he was too busy recording statements and completing other formalities to talk to the media.
Asked if any more IPC sections have been added to the case after the recovery, the officer said that the girl had willingly gone with the boy. He disconnected the call. On the police’s website, the status of the case is marked as ‘sensitive’.
Uraon tribe worships Sun and considers Bishnu as their deity. Grooming jihad is a matter of concern in this area where most traders are Muslims. It is alleged that these Muslim men target vanvasi girls for conversion. A new conversion tactic has come to the fore in recent times. Muslims lure vanvasi girls and then make physical relationships with them. Then they pitch conversion for marriage.
Uraon and other tribes are being targeted for large-scale conversion by Christian missionaries. It is pertinent to mention here that, per the Joshua project website, about 26 percent of the Uraon tribal population in India is now Christian. About 47 percent of the population is still Hindu, the website says, estimating the total population of Uraon to be about 52 lakhs, concentrated mainly in Bihar and adjoining areas of Madhya Pradesh, Orissa, West Bengal, Tripura, Maharashtra, and Assam.
(Featured Image Source: Swarajya Mag)