Bengaluru: Has the curse of proselytization reared its ugly head once again? 

A local website reported that members of the Banjara community were forcibly being converted into Christianity in Vijayapura, Karnataka. 

To make known their angst, members of the community and pro-Hindu groups held a protest last Saturday (November 2) and submitted a memorandum in this regard to the DC. 

Members of the community complained that a person by name Reva Teja belonging to the same community was in cahoots with a missionary in this endeavour. They also exhorted their fellow members to be aware of the event and keep themselves safe. 

The alleged were also organising an event titled Banjara Christmas on December 25 later this year and had even opened an account, asking people to donate generously. The account details were also published on public platforms. 

Somalinga Maharaja, a prominent personality from the community also lamented the fact that people were being converted on the pretext of Banjara Christmas. He also said that Banjara community lags behind financially, socially and academically as well, and that senior community members were working for the uplift of other community members.

Rajesh Padmar, a social activist with right leanings says forceful conversions are wrong. 

He said, “This illegal conversion is wrong. In India, weaker sections of the society are being targeted. This is entirely condemnable. Poverty, health and other such issues are being used as tools and enticements are being given. It could also be financial stress. In all, it is nothing but a conspiracy.”

In order to thwart any such mission to convert, he added that the police should be informed immediately and they should look into the issue on an urgent basis.  

Pramila Nesargi, an eminent lawyer said, “Forcible conversion is an offence as per Indian laws. If enticements are given and then the innocent people are forced to change their religions, it amounts to cheating. However, one has to look into the merits of every case and then decide.”