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UP ATS Arrests Two Muslim Clerics From Delhi in Alleged 'Religious Conversion Racket'

Uttar Pradesh is among a host of BJP-ruled states which have passed so-called 'love jihad' laws that criminalise conversion by inducement.

New Delhi: The Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) has arrested two Muslim clerics from Delhi’s Jamia Nagar in an alleged “religious conversion racket”, news reports said.

According to the police officers, the two are accused of converting people to Islam by offering them job, money, marriage, and other facilities, News18 reported.

The police said the two accused Mufti Kazi Jahageer Alam (52) and Mohammad Umar Gautam (57) run an organisation named Islamic Dawah Centre (IDC) along with their associates. As per the police, the organisation has been involved in large-scale religious conversions for the past one-and-a-half years, said the news report.

Uttar Pradesh is among a host of BJP-ruled states which have passed so-called ‘love jihad’ laws that criminalise conversion by inducement. They have usually been used to target interfaith couples.

The additional director general (ADG), law and order, Prashant Kumar told Indian Express that they were informed about the two accused while interrogating two other men who had allegedly planned to assassinate the chief priest of the Dasna Devi temple in Ghaziabad, Swami Yati Narsinghanand.

Yati Narsinghanand was accused in April of making “inflammatory remarks” about the Prophet Muhammad at a Press Club of India event in the national capital. The same priest was in the news in March for supporting one of his followers who thrashed a 14-year-old Muslim boy for entering the Dasna Devi temple to drink water. The Wire has reported in the past that Narsinghanand had repeatedly made genocidal calls against Muslims in the run up to the Delhi riots of February 2020, which resulted in the deaths of more than 50 people.

Also read: Changing Faith: Why Are Political Conversions Legal but Religious Ones Suspect?

The police claim that the two clerics who were arrested received monetary support from foreign nations and international organisations.

The ADG described two incidents of alleged forced conversion. In the first, the parents of a student at the Noida Deaf Society reported that their child was missing, and recently, the boy reportedly got in touch with the family saying he has converted. The family lives in Kanpur. In a similar incident, another student of the same society was also allegedly converted to Islam.