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Days After 230 Dalits Accepted Buddhism In UP, FIR Registered Over “Conversion” Rumour

On October 14,  230 residents of a Ghaziabad village, who were members of Valmiki community, said they converted to Buddhism in the presence of Rajratan Ambedkar, great-grandnephew of Dr B R Ambedkar.

On October 14,  230 residents of a Ghaziabad (Karera) village, who were members of Valmiki community, said that they converted to Buddhism in the presence of Rajratan Ambedkar, great-grandnephew of Dr B R Ambedkar. On Thursday, days after the incident, the filed an FIR against “unknown persons” for allegedly “spreading false rumours about religious conversion”, the Indian Express reported.

An FIR was filed on Thursday at Sahibabad police station after a 22-year-old “social worker”, Montu Chandel filed a complaint. The FIR has been registered under IPC Sections 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, etc) and 505 (whoever makes, publishes or circulates any statement, rumour or report).

“Some unknown persons and organisations spread false rumours about religious conversion of 230 people. The certificates issued in its connection bear no name and address and there is no date of issuance, nor is there a registration number. Anyone’s name can be written on it. There has been an attempt to flare caste-based tensions as per a criminal conspiracy,” the FIR states.

Rajratan Ambedkar, the great-grandnephew of Dr B R Ambedkar, said certificates were issued to 236 people by The Buddhist Society of India, founded in 1955 by Dr Ambedkar. The certificates bear the signature of Rajratan, who is the organisation’s trustee-manager, and Bhadant Arya Nagarjuna Surai Sasai, chairman of Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Memorial Committee, as per the Indian Express report.

Mr Ambedkar said: “How can they say religious conversion in Karera on October 14 is a rumour? I was present there. There is a Facebook Live video of the event; there are photographs of the event. What is the basis of this FIR?”

Keshav Kumar, Sahibabad circle officer said, “We are investigating the allegations. The certificates only bear the date of conversion. The allegation that the documents are not authentic will be investigated. No arrests have been made in the matter so far.”

According to the report, Pawan, a resident of Karera village, had coordinated the October 14 event. Pawan, who used to work as a housekeeping supervisor at an apartment complex until March, said the religious conversion did take place on October 14. Stressing that “we did convert, Pawan rejected the ‘rumour’ theory. He said: This is not a rumour…. We don’t know this complainant. He is not a resident of the village. We have not been paid by any political party.”

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