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Dalit sarpanch alleges threat from ‘Bajrang Dal’ for embracing Islam

photo: Indian Express
photo: Indian Express

Dalit in-charge sarpanch of a Porbandar village on Thursday alleged “Bajrang Dal members” threatening him hours before his planned to embrace Islam in public.

According to reports, Suman Chavda (40), in-charge sarpanch of Vinzarana village, was allowed to convert to Islam (following discrimination by the upper caste) by the district collector on April 12 under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act. On being taken permission Chavda announced to embrace Islam in a ceremony to be held on 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.

However Police denied the permission for the ceremony, citing security reasons and events to mark the 125th birth anniversary of B R Ambedkar.

Later, against the police opinion, Chavda reached Ambedkar Park, but he was not allowed to hold the conversion ceremony.

“Due to pressure from authorities, hooligans and politicians, my religious guru Vasim Raza and supporters Haji Ibrahim Umar and Hafiz Habib were not allowed to come here. In the name of security, they have sent a police constable with me… But preventing me from embracing Islam even after due permission is an atrocity,” he told The Indian Express.

Chavda, alleged that three people threatened him with dire consequences against holding ceremony on 14 April. An FIR has been filed against one Nilesh Kharva and two unidentified men for criminal intimidation and insulting a member of the Scheduled Caste community.

However, Porbandar SP Tarun Duggal said that “He wanted his conversion ceremony at Ambedkar Park on April 14, but a lot of people gathered there due to Ambedkar Jayanti celebrations. Therefore, we denied him the permission.”

Porbandar District Collector Dinesh Patel, while allowing his application, too had asked him not to plan any conversion ceremony at Ambedkar Park. He termed Chavda’s actions as “drama”.

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