Sixteen people were arrested by the Jharkhand Police for allegedly trying to convert Adivasis in Dumka district to Christianity, PTI reported on Monday.
Superintendent of Police Kishore Kaushal said the arrests were made just two days after 25 “religious preachers”, including the 16 arrested on Sunday, were rescued from “angry tribal villagers” in the area. Villagers had take the 25 people hostage on Thursday night in Shikaripara area of Dumka, for allegedly making derogatory remarks about tribal places of worship, NDTV quoted Kaushal as saying.
Kaushal said that the 16 people were arrested based on a complaint filed by the village head of Phoolpahari, Ramesh Hembrom.
Police did not name the Christian missionaries involved in the alleged conversion of Adivasis. “We are investigating the allegations,” Kaushal said. “Hembrom, in his complaint, said he had been objecting to the attempt of these missionaries to convince villagers to embrace Christianity over the past few months.”
The officer in charge of Shikaripara police station, Manoj Kumar Thakur, told PTI that the police were trying to find “the channel behind the conversion attempts”, in violation of the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act. The Act came into force in the state in September 2017 and prohibits the conversion of people from one religion to another by the use of force or by offering material benefits.