Agra conversion: It is an act of fraud, says Uttar Pradesh Minority Commission

Lucknow(PTI): The Uttar Pradesh State Minority Commission on Sunday described the mass conversion of Muslims in Agra as “an act of fraud and a dubious exercise which has no connection with the serious business of change of faith”.

Talking to reporters here, the four-member Commission, which had visited Agra on Saturday, said, “The recent mass conversion of Muslims in Agra is an act of fraud and a dubious exercise which has no connection with the serious business of change of faith.” The Commission, however, hailed the role played by Hindu residents of Agra and the district administration.

“We have no hesitation to state that had not the members of the Hindu community in Agra, particularly those residing in Vednagar locality where the so-called conversion ceremony took place, acted with foresight and humanitarian values, the situation could have taken an ugly turn.” The Commission members — Mufti Zulfiqar Ali, Shafi Azmi, Suhail Ayyub Jinjari and Nafeesul Hasan — also praised the role played by the Valmiki community and prominent religious leaders of the Hindu community in Agra.

“Our discussions with prominent members of the Hindu community in Agra have convinced us that they did not endorse such conversions. They feel that conversions carried out by such dubious means are not in the interests of the Hindu community,” the Commission said.

The members also praised the efforts of Aligarh district administration in thwarting the designs of a small section belonging to a particular organisation which was also planning to hold a similar program in Aligarh on Christmas Day.

Commission member Zulfiqar Ali said, “I have no hesitation to state that under the first NDA government headed by Atal Bihari Vajpayee the minorities felt by and large very secure and safe. Unfortunately, under the present BJP government, this sense of security is disappearing very fast.” The full report of the Commission will be released sometime in mid-January.

The Commission members said after the so-called conversion of these Muslims, thee were filled with fear and apprehension regarding their safety.

“It was, however, the efforts of the Hindus who restored their confidence and assured them that there was no danger to them or their faith. Thus the situation was prevented from acquiring a communal colour,” the Commission added.

When asked to comment on Saturday’s announcement of RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat regarding the continuation of the ‘ghar vapsi’ programme, the Commission said, “We do not wish to respond to any political statement. Our mandate is to ensure the safety and security of minorities and thus help in the preservation of peace and goodwill in the state.” At least 100 persons from 37 families were reportedly re-converted to Hinduism at a ceremony organised by an offshoot of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in Agra on December 8.

The incident created uproar in Parliament with a united opposition stalling Rajya Sabha pressing for a response from Prime Minister Narendra Modi on this issue.