Religious conversions involving money to be under Vigilance scannertext_fields
Thiruvananthapuram: The Vigilance and Anti-corruption Bureau (VACB) of Kerala is mulling bringing religious conversions, involving financial benefits, under its scanner.
VACB director and DGP Jacob Thomas said that the agency was looking into the matter.
"Definitely, the conversions that have taken place with the offer of money will come under the ambit of corruption," he told PTI.
"A corruption chain involving several links and nodes, some of whom are public servants, and substantial public money or public resources are likely to be involved," he said.
The official also said that abuse of power by omissions or commissions to obtain pecuniary gains to someone, involved directly or indirectly in conversions, can be construed as against public interest.
He said the main conversions (happening in Kerala) are of people to Christianity, Hinduism and to Islam.
"If the conversion is by force, it will be treated as a crime and if it is by offering money, it will be treated as an offence of corruption and we will probe it. All these things are on my radar," Thomas said.
The VACB director was replying to a question on complaints over conversion of some Hindu and Christian youth to Islam recently before they went missing and are suspected to have joined the Islamic State.
The anti-corruption expert said he was aware of various types of corruption and the agency was monitoring all the aspects.
The VACB director's statement on religious conversions assumes significance in the wake of a recent police intelligence report that nearly 5,700 persons had been converted to Islam between 2011-2015 across Kerala.
The report, compiled by the state intelligence and submitted to the state Director General of Police seven months ago, had stated that out of the total 5,793 converted, 2,729 were women.
Of the total number of persons converted, 4,719 were Hindus and 1,704 were Christians, it said.
As per the report, 1,074 people were converted to Islam in 2011, 1,117 (2012), 1,137 (2013), 1,256 (2014) and 1,209 (till October, 2015).
There were media reports that money was allegedly involved in such religious conversions.