The Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested two clerics from Delhi for allegedly converting more than a thousand people to Islam in the state by luring them with money, jobs and marriage, among other things. As per officers, the two targeted women as well as unemployed, poor and physically challenged people.
Mufti Kazi Jahageer Alam Kasmi, 52, and Mohammad Umar Gautam, 57, were arrested from Jamia Nagar area in the Capital. Police said they run an organisation named Islamic Dawah Centre (IDC) along with their associates, which had allegedly been carrying out large-scale conversions for the past one-and-a-half years. Gautam himself converted to Islam a few years back, an ATS officer said.
Additional Director General, Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said large transactions had been discovered while looking into the accounts of the accused and IDC, including allegedly foreign funds.
The ADG said they had stumbled upon this while questioning two people arrested on the charge of disguising their identities to gain entry into Dasana Devi temple in Ghaziabad recently, and for planning to assassinate its head priest Swami Yati Narsinghanand.
According to the FIR filed at the Masuri Police Station, on June 2 evening, two men named ‘Vipul Vijay Vargiya’ and ‘Kashi Gupta’ had been caught by security personnel at the temple as they were reportedly behaving suspiciously. Police, that was called to the spot, later said that while Vipul also went by the name Mohammad Rizwan and had recently converted to Islam, ‘Kashi’ was actually ‘Kashif’, and that Rizwan was married to Kashif’s sister.
Since the case involved alleged conversion and fake identities, ATS officials had joined the probe.
Police alleged that Umar had admitted during questioning that the IDC’s main objective was to carry out conversions, and that Kasim prepared illegal documents for the same. Officers said they were trying to verify allegations that the accused specifically targeted the disabled, promising them a good education, marriage, jobs and money, with their families kept in the dark.
Police claimed to have traced at least two of their alleged victims, both students of a Noida school for the deaf.
Officials said the family of one of the boys lives in Kanpur and had lodged a missing complaint. Recently the boy reportedly got in touch with them, conveying that he was in South India and had converted. The other boy’s family lives in Gurgaon.
“The inputs on the assassination bid were given by the local police. Our scope of investigation only included their activities pertaining to a larger conversion racket. They had registers, documents in which names and details had been mentioned. This gave us leads about other people involved in this conspiracy. Not just Uttar Pradesh, this network was operating across the country,” said G K Goswamy, IG, ATS.
Kasim and Umar have been booked on charges including promoting enmity between two groups, criminal conspiracy and forgery, as well as under the anti-conversion law.
The Dasna temple priest was said to have been a target following his remarks on the Prophet. Earlier, the same priest had said he supported the man who had beaten up a 14-year-old boy who had come inside the temple to have water.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.