Bhagana Dalits convert to Islam for ‘dignified life’

HISAR: A day after meeting with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, nearly 100 Dalit families of the district’s Bhagana village claimed to have converted to Islam in a ceremony at Jantar Mantar in Delhi today.

editorial@tribune.com

Deepender Deswal

Tribune News Service

Hisar, August 8

A day after meeting with Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, nearly 100 Dalit families of the district’s Bhagana village claimed to have converted to Islam in a ceremony at Jantar Mantar in Delhi today.

Dalit leaders alleged that incessant persecution and harassment at the hands of the upper-castes and failure of the authorities to address their concerns drove them to take the step.

Bhagana Kand Sangharsh Samiti president Virender Bagoria told The Tribune over phone Dalits were feeling disenchanted and thus embraced Islam. “Our four-year-old struggle to get justice failed to bear any result. The administration and society have let us down,” he said, adding Dalits did not hope for a solution after meeting Khattar yesterday in Delhi.

His aide Satish Kajla, who is named Abul Kalam after conversion, said Maulvi Abdul Hanif from Jharna Masjid near Qutbu Minar completed the formalities in a ceremony. “We read ‘kalma’ and ‘namaz’. We will not re-convert,” he said.

Kajla, who was part of the delegation that met the CM, said Dalits would launch a campaign in Haryana, urging other members of the community to convert to Islam so that they could lead a dignified life.

Bhagana village had, in April 2012, witnessed tension between Jats and Dalits after the panchayat constructed a wall, blocking access to some Dalit houses.

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