Conversion to Christianity
Placards are seen next to a photograph showing Hindu deities during a protest by Indian tribals against Christian missionaries in New Delhi September 6, 2011. The protesters are claiming the missionaries are "forcibly" converting them to Christianity.REUTERS/Parivartan Sharma

A Special Investigation Team (SIT) was formed on Thursday, September 13, by Jharkhand's Pakur district Superintendent of Police (SP) Shailendra Barnawal to probe the conversion of tribal people to Christianity.

"A team led by Deputy SP Ashok Kumar Singh has been formed following a report by the state's special intelligence branch of tribal people converting to Christianity in the district," Barnawal told IANS.

No time frame has been given to submit the report.

The Special Branch in its report to police headquarters had said that "in Littipara block of Pakur district, conversion of tribal people is going on at large scale by alluring them with providing clothes, foodgrains, solar lights, goat and other things".

The sources in the special branch said an audio clip of a Christian priest has been found enticing the tribal people.

The special branch report also mentions the construction of a church in the Hindu tribal dominated areas so that the conversions could be expedited.

Ruling Bharatiya Janata Party supporters claim that 90 percent of the primitive Pahadia tribe and 60 percent of the tribals have been converted to Christianity in Littipara block.

In Jharkhand, the tribal population has decreased over the years from 32 percent to 26.50 percent. The conversions and arrival of people from other states are said to be the reason for the declining population of the tribals.

Earlier in July, 16 members of an organisation with alleged links to Christian missionaries have been arrested for allegedly trying "religious conversions" in Jharkhand's Dumka district.

The arrests were made after 25 "preachers", including the 16 accused, were rescued by police from the clutches of "enraged" tribal villagers in the area and detained for questioning, SP Kishore Kaushal said.