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Sunday, June 11, 2023

NCPCR seeks action taken report from police in illegal conversion of Tribal children to Christianity: J’khand

The National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) has asked the Superintendent of Police (SP) to conduct 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.

The New Indian Express report on the matter says:    

“The Commission has taken suo-moto cognizance of the news report wherein it has been brought to the notice of the Commission that 12 children of Khunti district in Jharkhand have been illegally converted to Christianity by ‘Torpa Arsee Church’ running in the State of Jharkhand,” stated the letter written by NCPCR Chairman.

Through the said news report, it was also discovered that such illegal conversions are taking place in the village for some time now and to date, no action has been taken by the local government. NCPCR believes that it is a violation of the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015 and of the Religious Conversion Act passed by the Jharkhand Assembly in 2017.

“In the view of the allegations stated in the complaint, it is observed that there is prima facie contravention of various provisions under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2015, violation of Article 25 of the Constitution of India and violation of provisions under Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act 2017,” the letter further reads.

Meanwhile, coming into action, the district administration has ordered an inquiry into the matter. “I have asked the Sub-divisional Officer (SDO) to initiate an inquiry and submit a report within 48 hours,” said Khunti Deputy Commissioner Shashi Ranjan. Some of the children are minors and consent of their parents was not taken before the religious conversion, he added. The Deputy Commissioner further added that action will be taken against those responsible for it, as soon as the report comes to him.

Notably, out of the 12 people who converted to Christianity, 10 are minors while the two others are women of age 21 and 25 years respectively. According to villagers, they were taken to the Church in the name of educating them and converted to Christianity.

Villagers also claimed that a day ahead of the conversion which took place on May 22, 2022, Gram Pradhan of Kamda village under Tapkara Police Station, had handed over a memorandum to Khunti Sub-divisional Officer requesting him to stop it, but no action was taken in this regard.

‘Sarna Dharma Soto Samiti’ held a meeting in the village and expressed their anguish against the ongoing illegal conversions in the State despite the fact that anti-conversion law has been implanted in the State.

“Given the fact that there is anti-conversion law in Jharkhand, religious conversions are taking place illegally. Those who have converted themselves to another religion must be barred from taking benefits of reservation in the State,” said a member of Sarna Dharma Soto Samiti, Reda Munda.

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