Nine people have been booked in Gujarat for allegedly luring tribals from a village in the state’s Bharuch district to convert them to Islam, PTI reported on Monday. The police said the more than 100 tribals from 37 villages were offered foreign funds to change their faith.
“The accused persons took advantage of the weak economic condition and illiteracy among the members of the tribal community to lure them into conversion to Islam over a long period,” an unidentified police official told PTI.
Those who were allegedly coerced to convert to Islam belonged to the “Vasava Hindu” community in Kakariya village in Amod taluka in Bharuch.
One of the accused, identified as Fefdawala Haji Abdul, is currently residing in London. He collected funds from abroad for the purpose, said the police. Abdul is a native of Nabipur in Bharuch district.
The remaining eight accused persons are local residents. All the nine have been charged under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, as well as Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 153 (B)(C) (act likely to cause disharmony), and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
The police said the conversions have been happening for a long time. “The accused persons lured the Vasava Hindu community members by offering them money and other help to convert them fraudulently to Islam by entering into a criminal conspiracy hatched to spread animosity between members of two communities and affect peace,” the Bharuch Police said in a statement.