As the political classes of the country continue fawning and fighting over a new issues they seem to have found – love jihad and forced conversions – a lot more people seem to have jumped on to the bandwagon. Following allegations and then protests against a purported phenomenon called ‘love jihad’ which involves forced conversions of Hindus to Islam in UP, similar accusations have surfaced in Bihar.
According to a report on The Indian Express, a Dalit woman has alleged that Muslim men from their neighbourhood have forcibly converted her husband to Islam. She also said that the same people have threatened to ‘convert’ her and her teenage daughter.
The incident allegedly occurred in Sitamarhi district in Bihar. The report notes that the police, however, has refused to acknowledge the said complaint. They instead lodged a complaint of harassment against the accused.
The IE reports quotes the complainant as follows: “I have strong suspicion that my husband was offered the money by someone to convert to Islam. He was converted a fortnight ago and came home wearing kurta, lungi and a skull cap. He calls himself Mohammed Abdullah Shekh now.”
It must be noted here, one of the more prominent accusations of ‘love jihad’ was made by Tara Shahdeo, a national level shooter who alleged that her husband had tried to forcibly convert her to Islam. The Ranchi based shooter had said that her husband had kept his religious identity a secret, which she came to know of, only after they got married. She said that Ranjit Singh Kohli alias Rakibul Hossain had then started to abuse her asking her to convert to Islam.
The case hit the headlines sending the political brigade into a tizzy of lobbing accusations and counter-accusations.
Earlier this month, Dainik Bhaskar reported that a 14-year-old girl had been kidnapped in Bihar and then made to convert. Interestingly, however, the report notes that the girl had denied that she was kidnapped or converted. Later, she changed her statement to the police. Based on her revised complaint a minor boy was arrested and remanded in a child detention centre.
From the frequency of accusations surfacing in Bihar, it won’t be too long before ‘forced conversions’ becomes an issue that’s a favourite with politicians in Bihar as much as it is with their colleagues in Uttar Pradesh.