Four people were arrested in Karnataka’s Udupi district after a complaint was filed against them for allegedly converting people to Christianity, police said on Monday.
“There was a complaint that four people were converting people from lower castes to Christianity,” said a police officer from Kota neighborhood in Kundapura taluk in Udupi district. “We went there, and based on our preliminary investigation, an FIR (first information report) was filed.”
The incident allegedly took place on Sunday evening. The four defendants – Prakash, Jyothi, Ravichandra and Manohar – were named in the FIR, the officer said, declining to be named. A court sent them on Monday in custody for 15 days.
The southern state has seen an upsurge in allegations of forced religious conversions, moral ordering and hate crimes in recent times.
On Sunday evening, members of a right-wing Hindu organization broke into the homes of the defendants who are believed to be all in the same household and confronted them in front of police officers, people with knowledge of the Kundapura incident said under cover of anonymity. .
An alleged video of the incident has been circulated widely on social media, in which one of the defendants in the case, Jyothi, is seen arguing with the group who broke into their home. HT cannot independently verify the authenticity of the video.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai last month said his government was considering a law banning forced religious conversions.
“Such things (conversions) are happening here and there. A few days ago, I gave appropriate instructions to the district administrations not to allow any religious conversion by incitement or by force, because it is illegal, ”Bommai said on September 28.
Bommai’s statement came days after the issue was raised by Goolihatti D Shekar, lawmaker of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) of Hosadurga, during the state assembly’s monsoon session in September.
Shekar said there had been increased activity around conversions and that her own mother had been converted after being “brainwashed”.
On Sunday evening, at least four families from a community classified as an extremely backward caste, who had converted to Christianity, embraced Hinduism in Hosadurga taluka in the district of Chitradurga.
“Four families came to a temple and said they would continue in our religion, follow our culture and traditions,” Shekar said on Sunday. “They come from Maruthi Nagar and the Sudugadu Sidda community. ”
Several BJP-ruled states such as Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh have enacted laws to prevent forced religious conversions. In recent times, several right-wing Hindu groups have accused Christian missionaries of luring people from backward classes to convert to Christianity, a claim denied by churches.