As many as 16 people including seven women who were associated with a Christian organization were arrested by Jharkhand police from Dumka district over the allegations of religious conversions. Notably, all the 16 people were trying to convert tribal villagers of Dumka district.
The villagers had held hostage 25 people on Thursday night in of Phoolpahari village of Shikaripara area of Dumka as they had made derogatory remarks against tribal places of worship. After getting a formal complaint from the village head of Phoolpahari, Ramesh Hembrom, a police team reached on the spot on Saturday and arrested all 25 people including those 16 who were trying to convert religion of villagers. The police also recovered posters and copies of religious books from the accused.
While talking to media, a police official said that sixteen people including 7 women were arrested based on a complaint of ‘religious conversion’ registered by Ramesh Hembrom, the village head of Phoolpahari. However, he did not name the Christian organization they were working for.
Another police officer investigating the case said they are “trying to unearth the channel behind the conversion attempts”, in violation of the Jharkhand Freedom of Religion Act, which came into force in the state in September 2017. This is the first major arrest made by the police since the act was implemented last year.
This comes days after Jharkhand police arrested three women including two nuns for selling the newborns of unwed mothers. The two nuns belonged to the Missionaries of charity, a trust founded by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa.