Conversion of tribals rampant
Tribals spread over the Nagarhole and Bandipur national parks and on the fringes of forests have become the target of religious conversion in recent years.
Conversions appear to be rampant, particularly in villages of tribal families displaced from Nagarhole.
This has worried other tribals, NGOs and religious groups who fear tribal conversion could gain momentum.
Concerned over the conversion in parts of N Begur, Iyanakere, Rajapura, Thittemati and other places, tribal leaders along with NGOs plan to meet the Deputy Commissioner to press for the proper implementation of Forest Rights Act.
“If religious conversions can solve their problems, why do we need the Constitution?” said Srikanth of Development Through Education (DEED), an NGO.
It is mostly displaced tribals facing the pressures of modern life who are usually targeted.
Members of a Christian organisation are believed to have visited some tribal hadis, and more than 500 families are said to have converted.
Tribal leader Somanna said there are reports of some people carrying out prayers and exploiting the innocence of tribals in parts of B Mutkere.
Many religious structures have come up in tribal-dominated areas in recent years.
The tribal leaders are of the opinion that ethnic identities should be protected and focus should be on education and availing constitutional benefits.