AGARTALA, Jan 31 (PTI): Opposition CPI(M) Tuesday accused the Hindu Jagaran Mancha, a right wing group, of forcibly reconverting 98 people belonging to 23 tribal families to Hinduism earlier this month by making a threat that it can put them behind bars.
The Mancha, however, denied the allegation.
These 98 people, mostly tea garden workers hailing from Bihar and Jharkhand, live at Ranchi Tilla in Unakoti district, about 190 km from here.
The Mancha had said these people had been lured into Christianity in 2010 after the tea garden they had been working was closed down.
Jiten Chowdhury, president of Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, CPI(M)’s tribal wing, said he visited Ranchi Tilla on January 25 to find out the truth behind the reconversion.
“I found out that the Hindu Jagaran Mancha has forced them to be reconverted to Hinduism. They said they were Christians earlier and were very happy,” Chowdhury told reporters here.
A general diary has been registered with Kailashahar police station on December 23 stating that someone had lost his livestock, he said adding that four members of these people were arrested in this connection but later got bail.
“The Vishwa Hindu Parishad and the Hindu Jagaran Mancha took this opportunity. They threatened them to put them behind bars and forced them to be reconverted to Hinduism,” Chowdhury alleged.
The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) was also associated with the reconversion programme that took place at Kailashahar district on January 20.
“They (the reconverted people) were very disappointed by the incident. A fear psychosis prevails there. Many of the villagers broke into tears before me,” Chowdhury said.
When contacted, Hind Jagaran Mancha state unit president Uttam De said, “There was no question of applying force. They reconverted voluntarily. You can visit the place yourself to find out the truth.”
De said they have asked the government to launch schemes in the area for uplift of their socio-economic conditions.
After announcing their reconversion on January 21, De had said, “This is like a return of lost family members to their own home.”
Most of converted persons belong to Orao and Munda tribal communities, he had said.