AGRA: A day after a group of around 200 Muslims in Madhunagar slum-cluster here claimed they had “reconverted” to Hinduism, many of them on Tuesday said they were still Muslims, with some admitting that they had joined the RSS and Bajrang Dal-organized ‘ghar vapsi’ ceremony after being promised ration cards and houses. The saffron outfits, though, rubbished this claim, saying there was no inducement for “reconversion”.
Farhan, a slum dweller, said, “If 40 people in saffron scarves come and stand on your head, you will do just as they want.” Farhan was among those who had taken part in the puja, washed the feet of Hindu gods and also briefly worn vermillion on his forehead. On Tuesday, though, he said it was all for getting those men in “saffron scarves” off his back.
The re-conversion event was painted as “ghar vapsi” or re-conversion of Muslims who had Hindu ancestry. It was organized by the Dharma Jagran Samanvay Vibhag, an offshoot of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and Bajrang Dal. A ‘shuddhikaran hawan’ was also performed in the slum.
Bajrang Dal functionary Ajju Chauhan said the re-conversion had indeed taken place, and if the people were denying it, it was out of fear. “All these people have Hindu ancestors. They just did ‘ghar vapsi’,” he said, adding, “They were not lured by ration cards or houses. They wanted to lead clean lives.”
District magistrate Pankaj Kumar and SSP Shalabh Mathur said no one had approached them in connection with the re-conversion event.
Ismail, who led the 200-odd Muslims in the event, said he offered namaz on Tuesday after no one from the saffron outfits turned up in their neighbourhood. “We’re poor people and anyone can do anything with us. We can’t afford to lose our lives over religion and conversion,” Ismail said, adding that the promise of ration cards and houses had drawn many people.
“They first threatened to get us to vacate our homes. The land is owned by a Hindu. Later, they said that if we converted, we would get houses and better schooling for children,” Ismail said. The women who had posed before cameramen on Monday sappeared withdrawn the day after and would not even allow the kids out to play.