A functionary of Shiv Sena in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar district has converted into Islam, a news report said.
Sunil Kumar Jain, a former president of the Shiv Sena unit in Khatauli, converted to Islam. Jain claimed he converted as a protest against local authorities “failure” to clean a choked drain near his home in Khatauli town.
Jain however appeared unwilling to talk or explain about the connection between his conversion and the clogged sewer that an administration led by political rivals would not clean, reported The Telegraph.
Muzaffarnagar is still nursing the scars of the 2013 violence, which killed 60 people and displaced 50,000.
It came as a surprise for many as Shiv Sena is known for its militant anti-Muslim position.
One of his friend said that Jain was terrified by the 2013 riots and it was the main reason behind his conversion. But his friend failed to explain why he took two-and-a-half-year to convert. The riot that killed 60 people and displaced over 50,000, is largely blamed on the Hindutva forces. “He was not into any sectarian politics that led to the riot,” his friend added.
Jain, a 40-year-old cloth merchant said BJP, VHP, Bajrang Dal and Shiv Sena leaders tried to prevent him from conversion. “But I have no reason to feel good in the company of these people,” Jain was quoted as saying by the Kolkata based daily.
Jain claimed that he is still a member of Shiv Sena but this is yet to be confirmed by the party.
According to the reports Jain converted to Islam on 15 February during a trip to Mumbai. But he made it public only on Thursday in a letter to the district administration.
“My immediate anger was against the Khatauli nagar palika (civic body) and (state) revenue department because a sewer line in front of my house was choked and the officials refused to listen to my complaints,” the letter said.
In his letter, Jain mentioned that his failure to address the problem of people as a Shiv Sainik was one of the reasons for his conversion.
“People come to me with their problems because I am a Shiv Sainik, and here I was, unable to solve my own problem. Because of this, I began thinking of protesting in a big way.”
Jain added that he was impressed by the Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and his discourse on Islam.
“My conversion was done in Dungri, Mumbai, where I had gone to see a relative. Now I am Mohammad Abdul Samad,” he wrote.
Media reports say that a copy of the letter that he showed local journalists carried the letterhead of the local Sena president, although Jain’s term had expired last year.
The Shiv Sena has units in almost all the districts of Uttar Pradesh but is a very small player, in the politically crucial state. It has hardly ever won even a single local body seat.
Media reports quoted Jain’s elder brother, who lives in a different house in the same town, as saying he is not in touch with his brother and had no comment to make.