TN Dalit conversion threat evokes guarded response in Hindutva camp

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New Delhi, Dec 27 (IANS) Apparently taken unawares by news of 3,000 Dalits’ plans to convert to Islam, the VHP is preparing to look into the matter. Stating that the organisation views such developments with concern, VHP spokesperson Vinod Bansal said that the VHP will treat this matter seriously and send a team to talk to them and convince them to abort their plans.

Bansal told IANS: “Vishwa Hindu Parishad is completely against any caste based discrimination. But religious conversion isn’t the way. Many Dalits have converted in the past only to live a life of second class citizens.”

Alleging discrimination from the authorities in Tamil Nadu, about 3,000 Dalits in a small village near Coimbatore, had on Sunday announced their intention to convert to Islam on January 5. The death of seventeen people in a wall collapse in Nadur village on December 2 and the alleged apathy on the part of the authorities has led to the current controversy.

District officials could not comment on the issue as the model code of conduct is in place in Coimbatore on account of local body elections currently underway there. However, as per administration sources, the government has announced compensation, and other relief measures such as homes and jobs for the victims’ families.

But the Tamil Pulikal Katchi, a pro-Dalit organisation of which the Dalits planning to convert are members of, has alleged that police are not taking action against the owner of the house in the wall collapse incident, as per the provisions of the SC/ST atrocities act.

Meanwhile, a senior functionary in the BJP said he is not aware of the matter but added that they will ask the party unit in Tamil Nadu to find out. On being asked whether it will be bad optics for the party, he said: “It’s too premature to comment. For all you know, it’s a big bubble created by vested interests.”

–IANS

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