Sep 8, 2008

40 Hindus 'Converted' to Islam in Mewat (Haryana)

Two Hindu families, consisting of 40 members were converted to Islam last month in two villages of Mewat - Beersika and Tarrakpur in Nuh tehsil. Both are Muslim-dominated villages. Unlike other recent publicised events of conversion of Hindus to Christianity and Buddhism, the Mewat conversions took place in total secrecy. Even the villagers did not know until it was all over.

These families were living the life of no less than hell in their own village. They were banned in taking part in public gatherings. Hindu women were not allowed to use the same water source which all the Muslim women were using. Muslim Imams were threatening and torturing them to accept Islam.

Finally they succeeded in converting them to Islam. They were taken to Delhi's Jama Masjid and converted to Islam at the hands of the influential Shahi Imam Ahmad Bukhari who issued them conversion certificates.

The Hindustan Times of August 24 broke the story of their conversion only partially. It spoke only of one village, Tarrakpur and quoted a VHP and BJP local unit ultimatum which announced: "We have decided to give two days to the district administration to rescue the converted Hindu families from Muslim villages. Otherwise we will have to enter these villages," Attar Singh Bhagat, chief of the local BJP unit was quoted as saying.

The language was serious enough to alarm us. Before we could think of where to turn, we received an SOS email from "People of Mewat" which read as follows:"In Nuh subdivision villages of Beersika and Tarrakpur, 40 Hindus have been forcibly converted to Islam in the presence of Shahi Imam Ahmad Bukhari in Delhi. They are living in their villages as Muslims and the Haryana Government (Congress) is doing nothing to help them and Stop this conversions. Din Mohammad, Sarpanch of Beersika has openly said that he will continue converting Hindus to Islam until the Islamic goal of 'Mughalistan' is fulfilled.The Hindu people of Mewat are very much annoyed by these comments and living in fear. People of Mewat are preparing to make representation to the Administrative authorities as they are afraid of the dangerous attitude of the local Muslims there.

The situation was serious and the least we could do was to cover it ourselves so that the community and the country at large were made aware of the trials and tribulations of oppressed people. We replied to the email and soon came in contact with Chaudhry Wali Mohammad, an important personality and lawyer of Mewat and his lawyer son Tahir Husain.

Chaudhry is a well-known lawyer of Mewat and practices at Gurgaon which is now a suburb of Delhi while his son practices at the civil court in Nuh. Both are proud Meos and committed Muslims. They are the main people in legalising the whole conversion process. They even threaten the local government people by the name of Minorities Comission. Hence the police officials are also afraid to take action and stop this conversion. Through the dusty lanes of the impoverished town of Nuh we were led to the house of Tahir Husain, Advocate where his father Chauhdhry Wali Muhammad was waiting for us.

Accompanied by Wali Muhammad and his advocate son we proceeded to Beersika village. Situated off metalled road at a distance of around ten kms from Nuh, it is an abode of around 2000 people with two Hindu families. The third, Prabhu's, is now Muslim. We had to leave our car at the village entrance and walk through the muddy lanes of the village to the modest mud courtyard of Prabhu (now Sohrab).

An old man of 80, Sohrab was alone. The rest of his family had gone to another village for dawat, or feast, which is a special lunch or dinner to celebrate something. Almost every day these people are invited to some dawat in the nearby villages. The whole village seemed to have stormed us and we were led to a baithak, an area to receive guests and important visitors. Soon Sohrab arrived with a sad face and toting conversion certificates issued by Imam Bukhari.

"Was there any immediate reason for your family's conversion to Islam?" I asked Sohrab. He replied, "No. We were fighting for the last 20 years to stay Hindu. We were not allowed by the Muslims to pray to any Bhagwan's murti (sacred icon) all these years. They destroyed the last village temple recently. Still we used to do Puja secretly inside our home. We were shabbily treated by the Muslim majority here. We could not sit with them or fetch water from their wells. We, were in fact living like vermin of gutters. Living in this very house was painful. No help was forthcoming from Hindus in the neighbouring villages. It was about six months back when we finally gave up and become Muslims. It is very hard and painful for us to have given up the faith of our ancestors.", he lamented.

Village headman (sarpanch) Shahabuddin chips in. "The authorities are pressuring me to bring these people to them to record their statements but I will not allow it to happen. We would like to do more and convert each and every Hindu into Islam, but due to the officials' pressure, we are proceeding carefully", says Shahabuddin.

Former village headman, Deen Mohammad, is more forthcoming. He has been trying for years to convert Hindus into Islam but he finds the attitude of most of the Hindus unrelenting. But Deen Mohammad is adamant not to let any Hindu worship his/her chosen Vedic Deity. They are also planning to build as many mosques as possible and in some cases to demolish the temple to build a mosque.

On our way back, we come across a tractor with a trolley-full of people, mostly women. Villagers accompanying us recognised them. "These are the family members of Sohrab who had gone for dawat", they tell us. They had stopped at the entrance of the village when people told them that some strangers have come to see them. They thought we were government people and trying to help them. So we asked them what kind of dawat they went to. One of them told us that it was no dawat, but Muslims are ferrying them from one places to another so that no government official can meet them and rescue them.

Sohrab's son Hakeemuddin (previously Omkar) approaches us in confidence. He is a 50-year-old man in good health and full of youthful determination. He told us that he is ready and willing to go back to the Hindu religion, but afraid the life of his family members. Hakeemuddin says. "We are ready to face the consequences to any extent but we want to go back to Hinduism but we need help from officials".

As we talk, Hakeemuddin's 70-year old mother Sajeda (previously Bharpani) approaches us. She was among the women sitting in the trolley. "I have been secretly performing Puja for the last ten years in fear of Muslim mullahs.My last wish is to die as a Hindu," Sajda says.

Other male members of the family have been sent to the Tablighi Jamaat center where they are being forced to learn the Islamic ways and forget the Hindu customs. There is a similar family in the nearby Tarrakpur village. They are related to the Beersika family and their story and determination to go back to the Hindu religion is every bit identical.