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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

UP ATS arrests 3 more in illegal conversion racket, probes 50 lakhs foreign funding

UP ATS (Anti Terrorist Squad) has taken three more people into custody on Monday after it had earlier arrested Delhi residents Mufti Kazi Jahangir Alam Kasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam accused of converting more than 1000 economically weaker people to Islam in UP & Delhi through various illegal means and allurements.

The accused belong to different states across the country thereby indicating the widespread nature of the conversion mafia. The three arrested have been identified as Gurugram’s Mannu Yadav aka Abdul Manaan, Beed’s Irfan Sheikh, and Delhi’s Rahul Bhola.

ADG (Law & Order) Prashant Kumar addressed the media and said that the police were investigating details of those converted by Gautam’s Islamic Dawah Center (IDC). Kumar said, “ATS arrested three more accused in a religious conversion case. ATS is verifying details of people converted by Umar Gautam. For this, we have sent letters to SPs of 32 districts to take advance action. These include Prayagraj, Bulandshahr, Bijnor, Kanpur, Meerut, and Mathura. Based on facts, further investigation to be done”.

He further added that verifications are being conducted by UP ATS in various places across UP Lucknow, Ghaziabad, Aligarh, Saharanpur, Noida, Varanasi, Azamgarh, and Agra. Pointing out the violations of the Foreign Currency Regulation Act (FCRA) by Kumar stated:

It has come to light that the accused Umar Gautam has used his personal bank accounts and of his family to receive money from abroad. This is a clear violation of the provisions of the Foreign Currency Regulation Act. The money in the account of Fatima Charitable Trust has been transferred by accused Umar Gautam to the bank accounts of his family for personal use. To date, no audit of this trust has been done by him nor any income tax return has been filed.

Irfan works as an interpreter in the Union ministry of women and child welfare, which directly comes under the ministry of social justice. Hence, he had easy access to children with hearing disabilities. Irfan used to brainwash such children and got them converted to Islam at Islamic Dawah Centre (IDC), in Jamia Nagar of Delhi. IDC was run by Mufti Kazi Jahangeer Qasmi, who is now in ATS custody. Rahul and Mannu are also visually and hearing-impaired who roped in other specially-abled children to convert to Islam through Irfan.

ANI report says Qasmi and Gautam were involved in religious conversion of people to Islam from economically weaker sections, children with hearing and speech disabilities, and students on the pretext of money, job, and marriage. During the investigation, it was found that the accused were funded by Pakistan’s ISI apart from some other foreign organizations.

As per reports, UP ATS is probing allegations of funding of Rs 50 lakh from Qatar, Abu Dhabi, and Riyadh. Overall, police chiefs of 27 districts have been directed to investigate the matter in their respective districts. In his statement, ATS IG GK Goswamy said, “No income tax returns were filed by the trust. From January 2010 to 14 June 2020, IDC received Rs 1.74 crore through cash and cheques from foreign countries, most of which were found to be hawala transactions.”

Goswamy further pointed out that IDC is the official examination center of Doha-based Islamic Online University, owned by Bilal Philip, who was arrested in 2014 in the Philippines for inciting hatred. Additionally, it has come to light that Gautam is associated with an NGO in Assam named Markazul Ma’arif.

A case has been lodged against a person named Vijay Sonkar, who has also converted to Islam, at Fatehpur’s Khakhreru police station in relation to the forced religious conversion cases. Confirming the arrest, the IG stated “Vijay worked as a driver and converted into Islam. He allegedly forced minors to convert. Vijay has been arrested by Fatehpur police and ATS would be questioning him.”

More details are expected to emerge in the coming days in the case as UP ATS questions those arrested.

(Featured Image Source: Megh Updates Twitter Page)

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