RAMPUR: Fighting with civic authorities, over 800 Valmikis ‘converted to Islam’ in order to save their houses from demolition on Tuesday.
Going ahead with their threat they issued last week that they are left with no option than to change their religion, they chose the 124th birth anniversary of BR Ambedkar to embrace Islam. (Also Read: Rampur: To ‘save’ their houses, 80 Valmiki families set to embrace Islam)
Valmiki families were in a massive panic after civic authorities allegedly painted their houses with red marks some days ago.
According to the Valmiki people, construction of a shopping mall is expected over the demolition of their houses which is said to have the support from the UP Minister and a strongman of Rampur, Azam Khan.
The District Magistrate of Rampur, Chandra Prakash Tripathi has refused to comment on the ‘conversion’.
Speaking to a daily, media in charge of Azam Khan, Fasahat Ali Khan said, “Those converting to Islam should clearly understand that this is not going to help them in any manner. Encroachment of public land in any form by any community is totally unacceptable. In Rampur, the majority of those evicted from government lands are Muslims.”
A high drama was seen for most of the day as the Valmiki families went ahead with their self-announced conversion along with heavy police deployment in the area.
Even though a cleric from Amroha, who was to help in the families for their conversion, did not turn up, the Valmikis still sported traditional Muslim skull caps and declared that they were from now on to be regarded as Muslim.
While no special ritual, ceremony or even the presence of a religious leader was required for their conversion, these disappointed Valmiki families have already tagged themselves as Muslims.
According to one of the residents of Valmiki Basti who along with others converted to Islam informed, “Few days ago, a municipal employee had visited our locality and asked us to vacate the houses. One expressing our inability to dos so, he suggested us to convert to Islam if we have to save our houses from being pulled down.”