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Mumbai, May 11: Around one lac tribals, including those belonging to nomadic tribes, are expected to convert to Buddhism here on May 27.

"We expect around 10 lac people to attend the function being held at the Mahalaxmi Racecourse," Laxman Mane, a nomadic tribal leader, said.

Mane, whose autobiography 'Upara' (Outsider) is a landmark in Marathi literature, is currently undertaking a state-wide tour to drum up support for the conversion campaign.

The Bombay High Court on Tuesday allowed Royal Western India Turf Club to let the organizers hold the event there.

RPI president and Lok Sabha member Ramdas Athavale is among the organizers.

A citizens' group, Public Concern for Governance Trust, had filed a petition in 2005 requesting the court to bar such public functions at the race course.

Mane converted to Buddhism in Nagpur on October 2, 2006.

Asked why he chose Buddhism, Mane said tribals had been following the Buddha's teachings without knowing it. "But now we've realised that our practices are similar to Buddhism," he said.

The 56-year-old leader, who has been working with NCP president Sharad Pawar's daughter, MP Supriya Sule, among nomadic tribes, said the conversions were a protest against the government's apathy.


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