THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: While the BJP, in its election manifesto, has promised an Uttar Pradesh model law against forceful religious conversion and ‘love jihad’ in Kerala to woo Hindu and Christian voters, the data sourced by TNIE from the government gazettes paint an altogether different picture.
According to official figures for the year 2020, the biggest gainer – in terms of new converts – was Hinduism. People who embraced Hinduism constituted 47 per cent of religious conversions in Kerala during the one-year period under reference.
Of the total 506 people who registered their change of religion with the government, 241 were those who converted from Christianity or Islam to Hinduism. A total of 144 persons adopted Islam whereas Christianity received 119 new believers in the year, shows the data.
32 people left Islam for Hinduism
As per the rule, people who officially change their religion, including minors, have to advertise it in the gazette. 72% of the new converts to Hinduism were Dalit Christians, mostly Christian Cheramars, Christian Sambavas and Christian Pulayas. It was evident that lack of reservation benefits forced many Dalit Christians to re-embrace Hinduism. Also, 32 people left Islam to join Hinduism.
Christianity lost 242 believers to the other two religions and attracted only 119 persons. Islam gained 144 new believers and lost 40 during the period. Buddhism received two new believers who switched from Hinduism.
77% of the new converts to Islam were Hindus and 63% women. It attracted the highest number of persons from Ezhava, Thiyya and Nair communities. 25 persons, including 13 females, switched from Hindu Ezhava to Islam.
17 Thiyya community members including 11 females converted to Islam. 17 persons including 12 females were from the Nair community. Of the 33 persons who crossed over to Islam from Christianity, 9 were Syrian Catholics, who included two women.