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UP ATS Arrests Islamic Scholar In Conversion Racket

UP ATS Arrests Islamic Scholar
Lucknow: The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has arrested well-known Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui from Meerut for allegedly running the "biggest conversion syndicate", a police official said here on Wednesday.
Siddiqui was arrested by the ATS, which is probing this racket, at around 9 pm on Tuesday and was brought to the agency’s headquarters in Lucknow after being produced in a court, Additional Director General (ADG), Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said.
He was arrested three months after Delhi''s Jamia Nagar residents Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam were apprehended by the ATS on June 20. Qazi and Guatam were running Islamic Dawah Center, an outfit allegedly working on the ISI funding for converting deaf-mute students to Islam, according to officials. The ATS has so far arrested 10 people in connection with the conversion racket, Kumar said.
Samajwadi Party Sambhal MP Shafiqur Rehman Barq termed the Siddiqui’s arrest "wrong”.
"The BJP government has non work other than targeting and harassing Muslims," he said.
Giving details of the racket, the ADG said it came to light during the probe that Gautam and his accomplice were funded Rs 57 crore by Britain-based Al-Falaa Trust but the two did not give details of its expenditure.
It was also found that Siddiqui is involved in the illegal conversion racket under the garb of running various educational, social and religious organisations, Kumar said. "Foreign funding was done for this (conversion) in a big way and the illegal conversion was being carried out in a planned and organised way and many well-known and institutions are involved in it," the ADG said.
He said it also came to the fore that Siddiqui ran the "biggest unlawful conversion syndicate" and threatened and misled people for conversion and prepared them for ''Dawah'' (the act of inviting or calling people to embrace Islam).
The ATS found that he also runs Jamia Imaam Waliullah Trust, which is carrying out illegal religious conversion in the name of running "communal harmony" programmes, Kumar said.
Siddiqui is a resident of Muzaffarnagar. After doing a BSc from Meerut, he cleared Pre-Medical Test (PMT) but instead of pursuing MBBS he joined Nadwatul Ulema in Lucknow, he said.
Siddiqui also funded madrasas and for this, he used to get huge money from abroad by illegal means, the ADG said.
For conversion, Siddiqui''s self-written literature, which is available online as well as in print, was being given free of cost to people, he said.
He was propagating that only sharia could give justice to people, Kumar said.
“He used to emphasise that issues like triple talaq should be dealt under the light of sharia," the official said.
Organisations that funded Gautam''s ventures also gave funds to the Siddiqui''s Jamia Imaam Waliullah Trust, he said.
The probe till now suggested that Rs 1.5 crore was transferred into the Trust account illegally from Bahrain and evidence of Rs 3 crore funding was found, Kumar said. He said six teams of the ATS are probing the case. Earlier, a sign language expert working in the Union Ministry of Child and Family Welfare was arrested by the ATS for his alleged complicity in the religious conversion racket, according to officials.
The deaf-mute sign language expert was identified as a Maharashtra native Irfan Khwaja Khan.
The UP ATS’ arrests in the alleged conversion racket has also prompted the Enforcement Directorate to initiate a probe to investigate foreign funding and money laundering. Those arrested have been booked under relevant sections of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act, 2020 and the Indian Penal Code, as per the officials.  —PTI