Modi Gov Kodagu: Christian couple accused of forced conversion arrested

Kodagu: Christian couple accused of forced conversion arrested

  • Man alleges forced conversion in Madikeri, Christian couple from Kerala booked
  • Accused have been booked under IPC section 295 (A), remanded to judicial custody
  • Police official said they have not received circular on Anti-Conversion Law

On May 17, an ordinance on the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill (2021) or commonly known as Anti-Conversion Law came into effect, on the same day, a Christian couple was arrested by the Madikeri district police over allegations of forced religious conversion. Based on the complaint filed by a man, an FIR was lodged under IPC section 295 (A). The accused were produced before the court and sent to judicial custody.

On Tuesday afternoon, chaos prevailed at Manchalli village of Madikeri district as members of the Bajrang Dal barged into a house belonging to a man named Paniyeravar A Mutha and questioned the motive of a Christian couple, who were inside the house. After arguments between the Christian couple and the right-wing group members, the couple was handed over to the Kutta police.

Speaking on the issue, local Bajrang Dal leader Sajjan Ganapati told News9 that, he along with other members went to the spot after they received the information about forced religious conversion.

“We received a call yesterday saying a Christian couple was trying to forcibly convert a family to Christianity. We rushed to the spot and confronted them. They had brought all things required for conversion. They also had a list of people who they have already converted. We handed them over to the police,” Ganapati said.

Mutha, in his complaint to the police, alleged that the Christian couple namely 62-year-old Kuriyachan and his wife 57-year-old Selenamma of Mananthavady of Kerala were trying to convert them to Christianity.

“On May 17, around 3 pm, Kuriyachan and Selenamma forcibly gave us the Bible and started doing prayers. A few villagers came to our house and questioned them…We request the police to take appropriate action against them,” the complaint read. Mutha in his complaint also claimed that his nephew and his wife who were staying with his family had converted to Christianity three years back and used to regularly visit Tholpetty Church in Kerala. He also alleged that his nephew used to influence him towards Christianity.

Based on the complaint, police arrested the couple and filed an FIR under IPC section 295 (A). They were produced before the court on Tuesday night and were sent to judicial custody.

“This is not the first time, they are indulging in forcible conversion. So far, the couple has converted more than 1,000 people in and around Kutta. Their main targets are people from Yerava caste. Every Tuesday and Sunday they ask these people to visit a church in Tholpetty in Kerala and influence them to convert on the behest of getting a better life. We are trying to get more information on them,” Sajan added.

Speaking with News9 on the condition of anonymity, a police officer attached to the Kutta police station said, “On Tuesday, we received information about forcible conversion and we visited the spot. After taking a written complaint, we filed an FIR in the case and produced the accused before the court on the same night and they were sent to judicial custody,” the police official said.

When asked about applying provisions under the new Anti-Conversion Law, the officer said, “The sections were added in the FIR after consultation with the higher officials. We have not received any circular from the government over the Anti-Conversion Bill.”

Multiple calls to Madikeri SP MA Aiyappa to get a comment on the issue went unanswered.

Governor Thaawarchand Gehlot on Tuesday gave his assent to the contentious Anti-Conversion Law amid opposition from the Christian community.

Home Minister Araga Jnanendra on Tuesday said that the Anti-Conversion laws will be strictly implemented across the state.

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