The issue of religious conversion has been in the headlines for the last few days in Uttar Pradesh. After the arrest of Mufti Qazi Jahangir Qasmi and Umar Gautam by UP ATS, the links of religious conversion are being investigated all over UP. According to the ATS, the arrested Umar Gautam and Jahangir have converted more than a thousand people.
Now renowned Shia Cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad has raised questions over the working of ATS and has asked for a fair investigation.
Speaking to News18 on the conversion issue in Lucknow on Thursday, Maulana Kalbe Jawad said, “The arrest by UP ATS is not correct many times and there should be a fair investigation of this whole matter. Also, it should be kept in mind that no innocent person is punished.”
Speaking further on the issue, Maulana Jawad said, “The statements of those who have been converted should be recorded. Were they really forced to convert to Islam or did they convert their religion voluntarily? If a person voluntarily converts his religion, then he cannot be made guilty in the Indian Constitution, because every religion has the right to promote its religion as per the Indian Constitution. Whether it is Hinduism, Muslim religion or Christianity, there is complete freedom in any religion to propagate its religion.”
“Forced conversion cannot be done in Islam. Moreover, if a person is forced to convert, then that person is not considered to be included in Islam,” he added.
On the issue of foreign funding, Maulana Kalbe Jawad said that it is a failure on the part of agencies if funding was going on from foreign countries. “If the agencies say that funding was being done from abroad and that is why religious conversion was being done, then they should prove this. They should tell from which countries the money was coming and how the money kept coming for how long and the investigating agencies did not even know about it. This is a big mistake in terms of security.”
Earlier, the UP ATS had arrested two clerics accusing them of converting people with fear and temptation. During their interrogation, the police found that Gautam himself converted to Islam. “He had disclosed that they have converted at least 1,000 people to Islam so far. The two men have also disclosed that their IDC even received funds from international organisations with the purpose of converting people into Islam,” UP ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said.
The matter came to light when parents of a student of Noida Deaf Society reported that their son is missing and was later forcefully converted to Islam, police said. Both accused were arrested and booked for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion, criminal conspiracy and cheating.
According to UP ATS, the work of conversion is being done in Noida, Kanpur and Mathura in UP and also in some other States. It is also being said that the religious conversions were being done at the behest of the Islamic Dawa Center.