May 26, 2024

The Scoop India

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If you convert by force or fraud, you will be imprisoned for 10 years. The whole story of Chhattisgarh law. 

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There is a village at a distance of about 60 kilometers on the highway going from Raipur to Bilaspur, Vishrampur, a village with a population of 5-7 thousand. On the surface, it is so normal that hardly anyone will notice, but in Chhattisgarh there will be very few people who know about it. How important is the 18th century ‘The City of Rest’ here. Especially for the conversion gang, the Christian community considers it a place of pilgrimage while others consider it the headquarters of the Christian community from where the poor tribal people were fed the drink of Christianity. The stream of Christianity spreading in every corner of Chhattisgarh has originated from here.

Today the question is whether ‘The City of Rest’, the headquarters of the Christian community, is going to be closed because Chief Minister Vishnudev Sai is going to bring a new law to stop religious conversion in Chhattisgarh. The second question is that India is a land of religion and knowledge, here not only humans but even stones are worshipped. This country is so religious that many times people here do not even understand whom they are worshiping and why. The reason for this deep faith and superstition is that here any God can give birth to a God or Goddess, can carve a stone and make an idol, then can sing its glory and can create thousands and millions of devotees behind him.

Understand the story, the year was 1850. A Christian priest named Father Oscar T. Lore came to India, learned Hindi for seven years, then went to America in 1857, but returned to India again in 1868, but this time not alone but along with his family, he came to settle here. . He took 1544 acres of land between Raipur and Bilaspur and built a building, after which people were brought and settled in this area of dense forest and many institutions like school, hostel, hospital, leather factory were built. The name of this place was Vishrampur and he made it the headquarters of his Central India missionary. Named ‘The City of Rest’, his wife and two sons also joined him in pretending to serve the villagers from here.

That is, he easily gained the trust of the poor people. When the trust was gained, Father Lor laid the foundation of the first church of Chhattisgarh in Vishrampur itself. The construction of Emmanuel Church was started on 15 February 1873 and it was completed on 29 March 1874. An example of how fast Father Lor’s missionaries converted Chhattisgarhis to Christianity at that time is that in Vishrampur, where in 1880, 4 people had adopted Christianity, by 1883 their number reached 258. By 1884, apart from Vishrampur, three missionary centers were built in Raipur, Baitalpur and Parsabhadar. 11 schools were opened. By now the number of people who have become Christians from other religions at all these places had reached 1 thousand 125. That is, this missionary, which started from Vishrampur about 150 years ago, has branches in every village today and lakhs of people are associated with it.

That is, this was the first story of conversion. Now understand the second story which is related to this Bilaspur, how Bihar was targeted by the missionaries from here. Dressed in the colors of faith and prayed and made us salute the miracle. This was the year 1956 when the present Jharkhand state was a part of Bihar. Coal was dug in the mines in which most of the workers were from Bihar but some workers were also from Bilaspur. That day was Tuesday, 12th June, amid the scorching heat of Dhori coal mine. A Bilaspuri labourer, named Rupa Satnami, was digging coal. Suddenly Rupa Satnami heard a voice. This voice was heard only by Rupa Satnami. The voice was in Hindi which was saying, “Strike slowly, I am here.” After striking again, he saw a statue installed in a small depression in the coal wall. It was a statue of a woman and a child, that is, they were Mary and Jesus. When the idol was taken out, all the workers started running, some said that it was the idol of Goddess Kali, while some saw another mother in it, but after a while, Rupa Satnami told that it was Mother Mary. That is, everything was according to the script that the idol was given to a laborer from Bilaspur, he pretended to take it out, as soon as the idol came out, the local priests filed a petition to take the idol. They got the statue. This statue was kept in St. Anthony’s Church of Bokaro Thermal, a village which is also home to Asia’s oldest thermal power plant. This idol was named Dhori Mata after the place where it was found.

Local people started whispering that this was no less than a miracle. A rumor was spread among the poor, illiterate and uneducated people that by seeing the Mother Goddess, all sins will be washed away, all troubles will disappear, the poor will become rich and the sick will be cured without medicine. Rumor may not have a wheel but rumor is rumor and it spread so fast that Dhori Mata became the big mother of that area. Under the guise of which the game of conversion started being played. Because Mother Goddess was present in the church and not in the temple.

That is, in the then Bihar and today’s Jharkhand, where conversion was done in the name of Dhori Mata, in Chhattisgarh where the conversion was done by building The City of Rest, today about 32 percent of the population of the state is tribal. Among these, conversion is a big issue for the tribals living in rural areas of Surguja and Bastar. According to the 2011 census, the total population of Chhattisgarh was 2.55 crore. In which the number of Christians was 4.90 lakh. That means Christians are 1.92 percent of the total population. Census for the year 2021 has not been conducted, the figure may be double. The population of Roman Catholic community in the state is 2.25 lakh and the population of mainline churches, which includes Church of North India, Mennonites, Lutherans etc., is also 1.5 lakh.

This is the reason that even in government schools, head masters are directly administering oath to small children regarding religious conversion. To stop this, the state government led by Chief Minister Vishnudev Sai will bring a new law. Chhattisgarh’s Culture Minister Brijmohan Aggarwal says that our government will bring a religion-free bill in this session. According to the bill, if a person wants to convert to another religion, he will have to fill a form with personal details and submit it to the District Magistrate at least 60 days in advance. Several days ago also, Brijmohan Aggarwal had said, “There are many forces which are trying to destroy the demography and economy of Chhattisgarh on the basis of foreign funds.

Now according to the report of the English newspaper The Indian Express, under the proposed bill, if a person living in Chhattisgarh wants to convert to religion, then he will have to fill the form with personal details and submit it to the District Magistrate at least 60 days in advance. After this, the District Magistrate will ask the police to assess the real intention, reason and purpose behind the person’s change of religion. Similarly, the person or organization organizing the conversion ceremony will also have to fill a similar form at least a month in advance.

It was told that the draft of this religion independent bill is ready in which religious conversion cannot be done by misusing anything, by force, by showing undue influence, by coercion, allurement or cheating, even by marrying someone. If the DM gets information about this, he will declare such conversion illegal.

The bill also said that those who illegally convert minors, women, members of Scheduled Castes or Scheduled Tribes will be jailed for a minimum of two years and a maximum of 10 years. Also, a minimum fine of Rs 25,000 will be imposed on him. At the same time, mass religious conversion will attract a minimum punishment of three years and a maximum of 10 years and a fine of Rs 50,000. The court can also grant compensation up to Rs 5 lakh to the victim of religious conversion. But this law will not apply to those people who want to convert back to their previous religion. That means this law will not apply upon returning home…

BY- Author Rajeev Choudhary

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