A cleric has been arrested from Meerut by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) for allegedly running a religious conversions racket.
The cleric, Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, a resident of Muzzafarnagar, was arrested by the ATS, which is probing the racket, on Tuesday night from Meerut, according to additional director general (law and order) Prashant Kumar said. Notably, Siddiqui is one of the biggest clerics from western Uttar Pradesh.
NGOs, Trusts used for conversion
According to sources, Siddiqui has been running conversion activities through his trusts/NGOs situated in Delhi, mainly Shah Waliullah Trust, Global Peace Centre and Peace Mission (Mustafabad), Madrassa Sabeel-us-Salam (Jamia Nagar), Dawat-e-Ilsiam Trust (DEIT), Mewat, World Peace Organisation.
“Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui received funds from Darul Ulomm Deoband, abroad through his trust Shah Waliullah, and the fund was reportedly used in the construction of Madrassas in Punjab and Haryana in the name of Shah Waliullah. His missionary work is spread over the states of Rajasthan, MP, UP, Chhatisgarh, MP, Punjab, Haryana and Orissa,” sources said.
Following the arrest of Delhi’s Jamia Nagar residents Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam, who ran Islamic Dawah Center, an outfit allegedly working on the ISI funding for converting deaf-mute students to Islam, on June 20, the ATS is probing the conversion racket and has so far arrested 10 people besides Siddiqui, an official said.
He 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 was involved in the illegal conversion racket under the garb running various educational, social and religious organisations, Kumar said.
Sources further said that Kaleem Siddiqi is often termed as “Khahfa of Ali Mian in Dawah activities” i.e. kingpin of the conversion racket. He runs Dawat-uil Islam among non-Muslims, which is engaged in missionary work particularly among lower caste Hindus.
“A book ‘Aap ki Amanat Aap ki Sewa Mein’ is being frequently distributed among non-Muslims for dawah activities, which abuses Hindu religion and its practices, alluring non-Muslim women and inciting Muslims to convert large scale Hindus,” sources 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.
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.
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