New Delhi: The National Commission for Minorities has written to the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) government in Punjab twice in the last one month seeking a report on allegations of Sikhs being converted by Christian missionaries, ThePrint has learnt.
According to the commission’s chairman, Iqbal Singh Lalpura, they are yet to receive a response.
Lalpura told ThePrint that “public and religious authorities” had written to the panel about a “campaign being run by Christian missionaries for extra constitutional conversion of Sikhs to Christianity in Punjab”.
“We have been writing to them (Punjab government) and sought a factual report on the matter but despite our multiple letters, they have not responded,” he said, adding that the commission has called a meeting on 16 June to discuss the issue.
Punjab government officials, along with representatives of the Akal Takht and Shiromani Gurdwara Parbandhak Committee (SGPC) are expected to attend the meeting. The Akal Takht is the highest temporal seat of Sikhs, while the SGPC is responsible for the management of gurdwaras in Punjab, Haryana and Himachal Pradesh.
The commission’s latest letter to the Punjab government was sent on 30 May, a senior central government official told ThePrint on condition of anonymity.
According to sources in the minorities panel, most of the complaints of alleged conversion they have received pertain to areas located along the India-Pakistan border in Punjab.
ThePrint sought comment on the matter from Punjab government and AAP spokespersons, but did not receive a response. This article will be updated when a response is received.
Details on action, number of arrests sought
“In May itself, we wrote twice to the Punjab government but did not receive any response. We had sought a report from the government to understand whether the allegations are correct, and if they are, whether the Punjab government has taken any action and whether any arrests have been made. At the same time, if conversion has taken place, who are those people and if they were lured into it,” the central government official said.
The official added that since they had not received a status report on the matter, they decided to hold a meeting so it can be resolved. “We need to find out if there is any truth to these allegations and we hope the meeting will be fruitful.”
In December last year, ThePrint had reported how Christianity is growing in Punjab, mirroring what states like Tamil Nadu experienced in the 1980s and 1990s.
According to the ‘Population by Religious Community’ figures of the 2011 census, Sikhs constitute 57.69 per cent of Punjab’s population, followed by Hindus (38.49 per cent), Muslims (1.93 per cent) and Christians (1.26 per cent).
(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)