In order to monitor conversions to Christianity, the Superintendent of Police of Chhattisgarh's Sukma district has directed his subordinates and officers in charge of all police stations to “maintain a consistent watch over the activities of Christian missionaries and converted tribals residing in the district.”
Sukma SP Sunil Sharma, according to The New Indian Express, has written a letter to district police officials instructing them to maintain the intelligence network on high alert in order to monitor Christian activity in the area.
“The Christian missionaries and the tribal Christians are routinely venturing in internal areas of the district and persuading the non-Christian tribals to get converted by enticing and offering them allurement. Owing to this, the situation resulting into a conflict between the local tribals and those converted (to Christianity) can't be ruled out,” said the official letter issued by Sharma.
“Maintain a consistent watch over the activities of Christian missionaries and converted tribals residing in the district and report if any of their acts [are] perceived as suspicious,” stated the letter.
For Sharma, the circular is more preventative than prohibitive in character. Keeping in mind certain adjacent areas where religious conversions have resulted in violence, Sharma hoped that such a situation would not emerge in Sukma and that societal harmony would prevail.
“The police have been asked to gather its own information through their network on religious conversion activities by enticement,” said Sharma, adding that everyone has the freedom to practice their religion.
The acts of the Sukma police have outraged the district's Christian community.
“This is totally pre-meditated,” said Arun Pannalal, president of the Chhattisgarh Christian Forum.
“The district officials are supposed to protect the Constitutional rights of citizens and not trample them. How could the IPS officer conclude that Christian missionaries are involved in religious conversion without any investigation?”
“Every Indian has the right to move to any place and practise his/her faith. The officer should say if he has the figures on how many tribals [have] been lured to convert, what temptations given, and if any case registered during the past two decades in that area? This is an attempt to create animosity against our religion,” Pannalal concluded.