Muslims who 'converted' will get ration cards: Bajrang Dal

Agra: A Bajrang Dal leader said Tuesday that all the 300 poor Muslims who he said had embraced Hinduism here will be given ration cards they badly lacked.

Amid claims by one of the 300 that they were forced to give up Islam, Bajrang Dal's Ajju Chauhan said everyone in the group would be now taught Hindu rituals.

The Bajrang Dal organised the conversion ceremony Monday.

Chauhan, the group's co-convener, said Tuesday that all those who converted to Hinduism would be "Sanskritised". They would be registered as voters and would get ration cards.

He said the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS), to which the Bajrang Dal is allied, had been working "hard for three months to persuade them to convert to Hinduism".

The 300 members of some 60 Muslim families who reportedly embraced Hinduism Monday evening live in a slum on the outskirts of the Taj city -- and are miserably poor.

Most of them had lived near Madhu Nagar on Gwalior Road for 17 long years after migrating either from West Bengal or Bangladesh.

Agra's Muslim leaders mostly declined to comment on the episode.

But one Muslim scholar who did not want to be quoted by name alleged that those who converted were not Muslims.

"It is true that they are all from outside Agra, perhaps from Bangladesh, and had been living here illegally as they have no voter, Adhaar or ration cards," he said.

Munira, one of the 300, alleged they were lured to the event on the promise of giving them a plot of land and ration cards.

"We were taken to a place where a fire ceremony was on," Munira told ABP news channel. "We were made to sit there. We became panicky. We were told to pray to Hindu gods. We did whatever they told us...

"But now we are again reading the Holy Quran and our family members offered namaz today," he added.

Agra's Senior Superintendent of Police Shalabh Mathur said no complaint had been registered regarding the event. "We will take action if there is a complaint."

A Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader, Premendra Jain, wondered if Bangladeshis could be allowed to live in India if they give up Islam.

"We have been demanding the expulsion of all Bangladeshis living illegally in India," Jain told IANS.

"Now these people have been converted to Hinduism. Does it mean all those staying in India illegally will be allowed to stay here if they convert?"

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