Eight persons, who were arrested by the Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) of the Uttar Pradesh Police for being allegedly involved in illegal conversions, have been charged with “waging war against India”.
Accepting the application of the ATS, a Lucknow court has invoked the charges under IPC section 121-A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121) and 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war) against the eight arrested accused.
IPC Section 121 deals with waging, or attempting to wage war, or abetting waging of war, against the Government of India.
On June 21 this year, ATS had arrested two clerics – Mohammad Umar Gautam and Mufti Qazi Jahageer Alam Qasmi – from Delhi and claimed to have busted a “huge conversion racket” that was allegedly involved in the conversion of “thousands of people”.
The agency, later, arrested eight more persons and claimed that the accused carried out large-scale conversions under the banner of the Islamic Dawah Centre (IDC), which allegedly targeted children with disabilities, women, the unemployed, and the poor by promising them a good education, marriage, jobs and money.
Of the 10 arrested, four are from Maharashtra, two from Delhi and one each from Haryana, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand.
The eight against whom IPC sections 121-A and 123 have been invoked are Mohammad Umar Gautam, Mufti Qazi Jahageer Alam Qasmi, Salahuddin Zainuddin Sheikh, Irfan Sheikh alias Irfan Khan, Dr Faraz, Prasad Rameshwar Kaware alias Adam, Bhupriya Bando alias Arsalan and Kausar Alam.
The ATS claimed they have “collected evidence” that are enough to invoke sections 121-A and 123 against the eight accused, and also submitted a case diary to the court.
“After verifying evidence and case diary, the court allowed invoking of two IPC sections – 121-A and 123 – against eight accused,” said a senior ATS official.
The next court hearing is on September 14.