Within days of the Chief Minister, Parkash Singh Badal asserting that Punjab government would not allow “forced conversions, the Dharam Jagran Manch organised a “ghar wapsi” function in Amritsar on Tuesday. 128 people from 23 families, who had earlier adopted Christianity, returned to Sikhism.
However, the chief of the Manch’s Punjab unit, Ram Gopal denied use of any coercion. He said that these 128 persons originally from the Majhbi Sikh community had expressed their desire to return to Sikh faith. The function for their reconversion was organised at Gurdwara Shiromani Shaheed Jeevan Singh in the presence of Guru Granth Sahib.
While the Manch appealed to the State government for a legislation to ban all conversions, Mr. Gopal said that returning to ones’ root through “ghar wapsi” was a right of every individual. Mr. Gopal said that Manch would continue to participate in the endeavour in which it would also seek the support of the Sikh Sant Samaj.
Addressing a political conference on December 28, Mr. Badal had said forcible conversions were against the tenets of Sikhism. He had recalled that the Guru Tegh Bahadur, had sacrificed his life to ensure freedom to follow one’s religion during Mughal rule.