Zero Tolerance To Conversions: Gujarat Home Minister

| Updated: January 2, 2022 10:17 pm

In the first of its kind expression of zero tolerance to conversions, the Gujarat Home Minister has warned ‘Vidharmis’ ( heretics) of serious consequences for attempting to convert young and innocent girls.

“Vidharmis are running an organised conspiracy to convert young and innocent girls. As Home Minister and on behalf of police I warn these conspirators that we are in no mood to take this lightly”, Gujarat State home minister Harsh Sanghavi said in Palitana today. 

The minister warned that conversions in Gujarat done by luring, trapping or forcing will be taken up very strictly.

” Any person trapping young innocent girls by indulging in conversion conspiracies will not be tolerated,”

The minister also met two families whose daughters had eloped with non Hindu men but are now suing the same men and their families for conversion.

The minister announced a welcome confidence building measure by saying that anybody can contact the police directly if their son or daughter has been trapped by vidharmi conspirators. 

 “We will keep your identity completely confidential and take the strictest of action against conspirators running the Conversion business.

In another incident, BJP MLA from Dabhoi Shailesh Mehta has publicly said that he has brought the Dadhi Topi Dadagiri (Beard and skull cap) nuisance completely under control in his constituency and that he would be pursuing only Hindutva  as his agenda.

Vidharmis are those who do not follow Dharma.  A heretic is a person who belongs to a particular religion, but whose beliefs or actions seriously disagree with the principles of that religion. 

Interestingly, only Christians and Muslims of all sects are considered Vidharmis in Gujarat. Those following Sikhism, Jainism, Zoroastrianism, are not considered Vidharmis in Gujarat. 

 As social activist Bhavna Ramrakhiani aptly puts it, “In Gujarat, current divisions and descriptions are used more for political reasons than anything else. “

Explaining the real Jewish reasons behind the word heretic and its loose translation of vidharmi, she said it was sad that few religions were being selectively targeted in Gujarat.

There is nothing wrong in falling in love but when people sometimes use fake identities, manage fake papers to misrepresent association with a certain a community,  it is a crime.

Love Jihad is all set to become an important electoral issue for the BJP in the Assembly polls in Gujarat towards the end of this year.  A major campaign to rescue “innocent girls” trapped by Christians and Muslims in Gujarat is on the cards. Political analysts believe that Hindutva will be the main agenda of the BJP in December 2022 Gujarat elections. With AIMIM and Aam Aadmi Party(AAP) also in fray, Hindutva is an issue that can benefit the BJP largely diverting  the Hindu votes clearly in favour of the BJP whilst the Congress votes would be divided within AIMIM, AAP, Independents and others.  Congress is the main Opposition party in Gujarat. In the 182 Gujarat Assembly, BJP has 111 seats and Congress has 65 seats. 

It may be recalled that the issue of  conversions was picked up not just by the current government but even in 1998 when the BJP was in power both at the Centre and State.

 Keshubhai Patel was the Gujarat Chief Minister and Atal Behari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister when serious riots took place in Dangs targeting Christians who were blamed for luring tribals to convert. 

An orphanage in Vadodara run by the Missionaries of Charity was  allegedly  involved in conversions of “young innocent girls”.

From the late 90’s, over 150 English medium international schools have come up in Gujarat to “free quality education from Christians” and stop “Convent culture” in Gujarat.

Amidst these ongoing controverises, BJP MLA from Dabhoi in Vadodara district Shailesh Mehta, also known as Shailesh Sotta has given a call that there is no place for any dadhi or topi dhari’s dadagiri. 

Perhaps, the BJP MLA forgot that both Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah sport beards. He said that from the time the BJP has been ruling Gujarat, the nuisance and dadagiri of beard spotting and topi clad individuals has been strictly checked.

The MLA was speaking from a temple and referred to his constituency Dabhoi as Darbhavati, its supposed Hindu name and said “I have been elected to make Dabhoi, Darbhavati. The small taluka level Dabhoi has 38 per cent Muslim population. According to government figures, there used to be at least 14 communal riots a year but in last four years since I have been elected a MLA, there has not been a single communal flare-up. This is because I ensure that Dadhi and Topi dadagiri is kept under strict check,” he told the crowd.

Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia

Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia said “Harsh Sanghavi is a kid and I request him to please ready history lessons before commenting on such issues. Religion is a personal matter of every citizen. Parsis came from Iran and took rescue in India. They became one with us.  According to the Indian constitution people can follow any path of religion. It is said that even Aryans came from outside. Is that any less of a truth? Hindu, muslim, Sikh, Parsi… all are Indians.  Divide and rule is the USP of BJP. Harsh Sanghavi should better read history lessons and then give a statement on Gujarat.”

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