New Delhi: The Gujarat police arrested five members of a family from the Tapi district on Friday for allegedly attempting to convert two tribal women to Christianity, news agency PTI reported. The couple and their three sons were identified as Rakesh Vasava, his wife Rekha, sons Yohan, Yakub, and Rasin, residents of Vyara town.
The accused were booked under IPC sections 342 (illegal confinement), 417 (punishment for cheating), 120b (criminal conspiracy), and under relevant provisions of the Gujarat Freedom of Religion Act, 2003, inspector Hitendra Sinh Gohil of the Vyara police station told PTI.
The Gujarat Freedom of Religions Act seeks to stop religious conversions by use of force or through allurement.
“An FIR was registered on Thursday night. The family follows Christianity and has been accused of trying to forcibly convert two local tribal women to their faith by performing some rituals at their house between Wednesday and Thursday,” inspector Gohil said.
One of the women, a 20-year-old B.Com student, claimed in her complaint that she was in a relationship with Yohan Vasava for the last three years. They lived in the same town and went to the same school.
As both families knew about the relationship, she and Yohan Vasava used to visit each other’s homes, the FIR stated.
The FIR said that on Wednesday morning, Yohan Vasava called her to his house claiming that his father wanted to meet her. However, as soon as she reached there, Rakesh Vasava allegedly forcibly cut off sacred thread from her wrist and switched off her mobile phone.
“At the time, Rasin Vasava’s girlfriend had also arrived at the Vasava residence. The family members forcibly applied oil on the legs and forehead of both the girls and tied their hair with a piece of cloth,” Gohil told PTI.
Rakesh Vasava told the girls that they are “impure” and a ritual will be performed to “purify” them, Gohil said, citing the FIR.
When the complainant started crying and urged them to let her go home, Rakesh Vasava told both the women that they will have to stay here for the next four days. He also claimed that “Jesus had deposited Rs 2 lakh” in his bank account so that they can buy mobile phones and cars, the official said.
Rakesh Vasava then started a ritual after lighting a candle and it went on till 5 am on Thursday, he said.
After reaching home, the woman (the complainant) narrated her ordeal to family members, following which a complaint was lodged against the Vasavas on Thursday night, Gohil said.