Religious groups meet to soothe frayed nerves

Buddhist association wants SIT to probe conversions; DC to submit report to govt

Against the backdrop of the rising communal tension in Ladakh following an inter-religion marriage, religious heads of all communities, while keeping the district administration in the loop, today got together to soothe the frayed nerves. They also demanded a high-level inquiry into such cases.
The meeting, attended by Leh Deputy Commissioner Avny Lavasa and SSP Uday Bhaskar B, was aimed at restoring peace in Ladakh which had been hit by a communal discord between Buddhists and Muslims. A Buddhist woman had converted to Islam in 2015 to marry a Muslim man from Kargil.
“Representatives of all religious communities including Buddhists, Sikhs, Christians and Muslims held a meeting in the Deputy Commissioner’s office and deliberated upon the prevailing situation arising out of the inter-religion marriage and conversion of Buddhist girls into Islam. All participants expressed their concern and favoured a ban on such practices which create communal hatred,” Tsewang Thinles, chief of Ladakh Buddhist Association (LBA) told Kashmir Post over phone.
“We have asked for the constitution of a Special Investigating Team (SIT) to hold a probe into all incidents of conversion of Buddhist girls into Islam. We are not against the marriage, but why are Buddhist girls being converted into Muslims. It must be exposed whether it is a part of bigger conspiracy against the microscopic Buddhist community with the total population of just 1.2 lakh in J&K or is it some kind of love jihad,” the LBA chief said.
He also favoured the immediate introduction of an anti-conversion law in Jammu and Kashmir to save the religious minorities from such acts.
“It is astonishing that the girl in this particular case has not been allowed to talk to her parents. We agree that she is an adult and she has the right to choose her religion and partner, but why the mischief about her whereabouts? She is still missing for her parents,” Thinles said.
The Deputy Commissioner, who took charge a couple of days ago, said the meeting was held in a peaceful and amicable manner. “Everyone was in favour of peace and cooperation. I have heard all groups and have sought more details with regard to the case. I will submit my report to the government for further action,” Lavasa said.
Pertinently, the recent incident of a marriage between Stanzin Seldon of Saspol in Leh district and Murtaza Aga from Drass in Kargil district had triggered communal unrest in Ladakh.