The Conversion Agenda

"Freedom to convert" is counterproductive as a generalized doctrine. It fails to come to terms with the complex interrelationships between self and society that make the concept of individual choice meaningful. Hence, religious conversion undermines, and in extremes would dissolve, that individual autonomy and human freedom.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Two arrested for forcing woman to convert

Kendrapada (Orissa) | January 18, 2006 8:15:06 PM IST

At least two persons have been arrested for allegedly assaulting a Hindu woman and setting her house on fire in Orissa after she refused to change her religion, police said Wednesday.

The woman Kabita Mallik, a resident of Matiapada village in the coastal district of Jajpur with two children to support was eking out a meagre living doing household work at nearby houses, ever since her husband disappeared five years ago.

Her husband Purnachandra Mallick had gone to New Delhi to work as a plumber, but did not return.

Three villagers Gunanidhi Mallick, Tikan Mallick and Kulmani Mallick, recent converts to Christianity, were persuading her to adopt a similar step, which she was resisting, a senior district police official told IANS citing the complaint lodged by the woman.

The trio Tuesday allegedly assaulted her and set afire her thatched house as she refused to convert, according to the complaint.

The fire also engulfed five nearby houses.

"Acting on the complaint, we have arrested Kulamani Mallick and Gunanidhi Mallick on charges of attempting forced conversion, assault on the woman and torching of her house," the police official said.

Another culprit Tikan Mallick is absconding, he added.

The arrested persons were produced before the local sub-divisional judicial magistrate's court Wednesday. The court rejected their bail applications and remanded them in judicial custody.

Meanwhile, tension mounted in the village and nearby areas after this incident. Senior police officials rushed to take stock of the situation.

While state Christian leaders described the charge as false, leaders of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, who visited the village, alleged that some people were forcing people to convert, which was in gross violation of the Orissa Hindu Religion Freedom Act.

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