UP ATS arrests Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui under state’s new anti-conversion law

Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui

The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad on Tuesday arrested Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui from Meerut under the draconian anti-conversion law.

The Maulana is the President of Global Peace Center and also the President of Jamiat-e-Waliullah.

The police arrested the Maulana on Tuesday night when he was returning to his native Muzaffarnagar after attending a function.

“UP ATS has arrested Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, a resident of Muzaffarnagar, in connection with India’s largest religious conversion syndicate busted by the ATS. He runs Jamia Imam Waliullah trust that funds several madrassas for which he received huge foreign funding,” ANI news agency quotes police as saying.

“Investigation shows Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui’s trust received Rs 3 crore in foreign funding including Rs 1.5 (crore) from Bahrain. Six teams of ATS have been formed to investigate this case.” adds Uttar Pradesh ADG (Law and Order), Prashant Kumar.

Uttar Pradesh ATS Inspector General GK Goswami also said the syndicate had “converted around 1000 people in India.”

Meanwhile, Delhi MLA and Aam Aadmi Party leader Amanatullah Khan called his arrest a political move and alleged that the silence of secular parties on these issues is giving more strength to the BJP.

“Famous Islamic scholar Maulana Kalim Siddiqui Sahab has been arrested ahead of the elections in Uttar Pradesh. The atrocities on Muslims are increasing. The silence of secular parties on these issues is giving more strength to the BJP. How much more will BJP fall to win the UP elections?” reads Khan’s tweet.

Many including Opposition parties, rights activists, Muslim leaders, and international rights watchdogs have been raising concerns about the new Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance 2020. Most of it has been around the law being a violation of an individual’s all fundamental rights. The law makes the private choice of a person who converts to another religion subject to the whims of the government of the day.

More than 100 Muslim youth were arbitrarily arrested by UP police under the new draconian law till now.

The law, which came into force in the form of an ordinance on November 28 last year, is seen as giving legal teeth to the BJP’s anti-Muslim campaign the so-called ‘love jihad‘.

More to follow…