Allegations of attempted conversions in Ghaziabad, UP

(Photo: Unsplash/Shashank Hudkar)

A major controversy erupted in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, after members of Hindu organisations accused a Christian group of attempting to fraudulently convert economically disadvantaged Hindus to their faith on Sunday.

What started as a religious event organised by members of the Jehovah's Witnesses religious group turned into a heated controversy, leading to the detention of several individuals and a flurry of police activity within the jurisdiction of the Kaushambi police station.

The trouble began when members of Hindu organisations lodged a complaint at the Kaushambi police station, alleging that outsiders, including American and Korean nationals, distributed pamphlets advocating Christianity among economically disadvantaged Hindu families in the Kaushambi area. According to complaints filed with the local police, the pamphlets contained quotes from the Bible and invited residents to a religious gathering at a banquet hall.

As reported on Hindu right-wing news portals, right-wing groups such as the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) arrived at the gathering site and trespassed into the event. They created a ruckus about the presence of foreign nationals and minors in the attendees and alleged that a conversion racket was going on.

The VHP members alleged that monetary incentives were offered to entice Hindus to participate, coupled with the distribution of literature containing religious content from various faiths, allegedly causing confusion and attempts at conversion.

The situation escalated when the police responded by registering a case and detaining several individuals, seizing documents related to Christianity from the premises as evidence.

Reporting on the event, right-wing publications such as the RSS mouthpiece The Organizer and gave details of the copies of the pamphlets obtained from the venue. One flyer quotes a Bible verse imploring readers to "Remember the Sacrifice of Jesus," while promoting a commemorative event. Another titled "The Dead Will Come Back to Life" makes references to the website managed by the U.S.-based Watch Tower Society.

As tensions simmer, the very nature and purpose of the March 24th gathering remains a bone of contention. With no official statement issued yet, this already polarising episode seems primed to brew further controversy and scrutiny in the coming days. Religious issues remain a powder keg in parts of Uttar Pradesh.