In Azam Khan's Rampur, over 800 Balmikis convert to IslamRampur: Over 800 Balmikis in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district converted to Islam yesterday to save their houses from demolition.According to the a memorandum submitted by Balmiki community people to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, their
Rampur: Over 800 Balmikis in Uttar Pradesh's Rampur district converted to Islam yesterday to save their houses from demolition.
According to the a memorandum submitted by Balmiki community people to Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik, their homes were being demolished at the behest of a powerful politician who wanted to a make a mall in the area.
Locals said that civic authorities have allegedly painted red marks on their houses a few days ago which created a panic situation among people. According to them, demolition of their houses would pave for building a mall in the area. The move is said to have a strong backing of Samajwadi Party strongman Azam Khan.
On April 8, Balmiki families had protested against demolition and threatened, if their houses are razed, to convert en masse into Islam on Ambedkar Jayanti (April 14) to embrace Islam. The day had a high voltage drama where Balmiki families went ahead with their self-announced conversion amid heavy police deployment in the area.
Azam Khan's media in charge Fasahat Ali Khan said, “Those converting to Islam should clearly understand that this is not going to help them in any manner. Encroachment of public land in any form by any community is totally unacceptable. In Rampur, the majority of those evicted from government lands are Muslims."
Another aide of local MLA Azam Khan said the demolition drive would continue irrespective of any caste or religion. Rampur is a Muslim-dominated area.
No special ritual, ceremony, or even presence of a religious leader is required for conversion to Islam. All one needs to have to convert is 'niyat' (true belief in Islam), recite the 'qalma' and have faith that Mohammed was the last prophet of God. Even circumcision, after a certain age, is not necessary.
After the conversion programme, Avinash Tapan, a local resident, said, “Additional district magistrate (city) visited our locality earlier and assured that nothing would happen to our houses but we can't believe them. We need a written assurance. We have decided to become Muslims, come what may."
Meanwhile, members of the Balmiki community have announced that they will boycott cleaning and sanitation work from today.
A week ago, seven members of the community sat on a hunger-strike after the municipal board declared a locality of Balmikies as unauthorised and decided to raze to ground the illegal possessions.