In Madhya Pradesh’s Damoh, late on Sunday night, Priyank Kanoongo, the chairperson of the National Commission for the Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), filed an FIR against ten people associated with a Christian missionary, alleging conversion.
Kanoongo had come here unexpectedly to investigate the area’s orphanages and children’s homes run by Christian missionaries.
The FIR describes how Kanoongo and Omkar Singh Markam, a member of the Madhya Pradesh State Child Rights Protection Commission, arrived at a children’s home maintained by Christian missionaries near the Katni Bypass. He had to wait a while at the main gate, according to the FIR.
Even though he was accompanied by top officials, the main gate remained closed.
Kanoongo asserted that Christian missionary institutes were actively converting minors. He claimed that a minor from the state’s Dindori district had been brought here for training as a priest.
Kanoongo then went to the Dehat police station to file a complaint. After much waiting, according to Kanoongo, an FIR was filed against the owners of the Christian missionary.
Kanoongo further asserted that the department’s employees were the only ones who could have informed the relevant institutions prior to the surprise inspection, and he added that he had personally obtained an officer’s cell phone.
“This is a violation of the religious freedom of children. We have lodged an FIR and told the police to investigate this. The Department of Women and Child Development here is negligent, and it seems that the local officials are complicit,” said, NCPCR chairman Priyank Kanoongo.
Shiv Kumar Singh, an additional superintendent of police, claimed that the commission’s chairman had made conversion claims and filed an FIR. Ten members of the Christian missionary’s group were charged under sections 370 of the IPC, 42 and 75 of the Juvenile Justice Act of 2015, and 3 and 5 of the Madhya Pradesh Religious Freedom Ordinance of 2020. He added that the situation was being looked into.
On the other hand, the principal of the hostel, Treeza Miss, said, “The allegations like conversion are baseless. There is no restriction on any child in this hostel. Hindu and Muslim children follow their respective religions and use their methods of worship.”
Treeza also reacted to the delay in the opening of the gate because the children did not go out of the hostel on Sundays. There was a delay in opening the gate due to security reasons.