Days After 236 Dalits Embraced Buddhism, UP Police File FIR Over Conversion 'Rumours'

According to the first information report, a few unknown persons and organisations are spreading fake news of 230 people converting their religion.

Uttar Pradesh   |   23 Oct 2020 8:35 AM GMT / Updated : 2020-10-23T14:11:14+05:30
Writer : Shubhendu Deshmukh | Editor : Shweta Kothari | Creatives : Abhishek M
Days After 236 Dalits Embraced Buddhism, UP Police File FIR Over Conversion Rumours

Valmiki community members formally embracing Buddhism, on October 14, 2020. Image Source: Twitter

Just a week after 236 Valmikis in a Ghaziabad village embraced Buddhism, the Uttar Pradesh Police on Thursday filed an FIR against "unknown persons" for allegedly "spreading false rumours about religious conversion".

According to the first information report, a few unknown persons and organisations are spreading fake news of 230 people converting their religion. "The certificates issued in its connection bear no name and address and there is no date of issuance, nor is there a registration number. Anyone's name can be written on it. There has been an attempt to escalate caste-based tensions as per a criminal conspiracy," the FIR further read.

The FIR was filed on Thursday after the police received a complaint from a 22-year-old "social worker", Montu Chandel. The FIR has been filed under IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc) and 505 (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report).

However, Valmiki community members in Karera village in Ghaziabad locality have said that they converted to Buddhism in the presence of Rajratan Ambedkar, great-grandnephew of Dr B R Ambedkar, on October 14. They also showed the certificates handed over to them by The Buddhist Society of India, founded in 1955 by Dr Babasahed Ambedkar.

The certificates bear the signature of Rajratna, who is the organisation's trustee-manager, and Bhadant Arya Nagarjuna Surai Sasai, chairman of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial Committee, reported The Indian Express.

"I was present there. There is a Facebook Live video of the event; there are photographs of the event. What is the basis of this FIR?" Rajratna asked.
Meanwhile, Keshav Kumar, circle officer at the Sahibabad police station where the FIR was filed said the certificates bear only the date of conversion and they are probing the matter. "We are investigating the allegations about the documents not being authentic. No arrests have been made in the matter so far."
The villagers have denied the Chandel's allegations. Pawan, a resident of Karera village, who had coordinated the October 14 event said that religious conversion did take place, and "we did convert". "This is not a rumour. We don't know this complainant. He is not a resident of the village. No political party has paid us," Pawan said.
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