Agra Muslims fear forced conversions to Hinduism

A dozen or so Muslim families have fled their homes in Agra after 57 families were reportedly converted to Hinduism against their will. Muslim organisations accused Hindu national groups close to the governing BJP of 'forced conversions' and demanded action against them. The Hindu groups denied the charge and say the conversions were voluntary. Meanwhile opposition MPs accused hard line Hindus of undermining India's unity and secular nature, as the issue was hotly debated in parliament with opposition parties demanding an explanation from Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Residents of a slum in Agra said some 250 people attended a Hindu religious ceremony because they were promised ration cards and other basic amenities by a local Hindu activist, if they attended. One resident said during the ritual they were made to do what the Hindu priest was doing, and after the ritual was over the local activist told them they had become Hindus. Police have now registered a case against the activist accused of trying to convert Muslims by promising food ration cards. A Muslim man who supervises the slum rag-pickers has also been taken in by police for questioning, and armed police have been deployed in the area as a precautionary measure.