Updated: September 23, 2021 7:34:55 am
The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (ATS) on Wednesday arrested 64-year-old cleric Kaleem Siddiqui for allegedly being part of an illegal conversion racket. The ATS said his name came up during the investigation of a case filed in Lucknow in which cleric Umar Gautam and others have been charged.
According to the ATS, Siddiqui was arrested from Meerut around 9 pm on Tuesday and was brought to the ATS headquarters in Lucknow.
Stating that it has formed six teams to probe the case, the ATS said it has moved a petition in the court seeking Siddiqui’s custody. Siddiqui is the ninth person to be arrested in the alleged illegal conversion racket.
“During the investigation, it came to light that Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, a native of Muzaffarnagar, who mostly lives in Delhi, is involved in illegal conversions. It was found that in the garb of educational and social organisations, he was involved in illegal conversions across the country and was receiving funds from foreign countries for this. This conversion racket was being run in an organised manner and several popular people and outfits are also involved in it. It was also found that he ran India’s biggest conversion syndicate and converted non-Muslims by deceiving them,” the ATS said in a statement on Wednesday.
It said Siddiqui ran a Trust named Jamia Imam Waliullah, which in the name of social harmony, converted people by bribing them.
“It also came to light that along with the Trust, Siddiqui also funded several madrasas and that he received funding from abroad for this, which came through hawala and other channels. Through madrasas, the cleric, in the garb of giving a message for the unity of humanity, spoke about heaven and hell and put fear and greed in the minds of people, encouraging them to accept Islam. He then encouraged them to convert others,” the statement added.
ATS Inspector General GK Goswamy said that text written by Siddiqui was used for converting people through the materials available online as well as offline. “He used to make people believe that the arrangement made as per Shariat can ensure justice for all…,” Goswamy said.
Kaleem’s Youtube channel has 1.15 lakh subscribers which have dozens of videos in which he talks about religion and social issues.
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