Wednesday, February 21, 2024

“Targeted harassment based on religion”; Owaisi slams UP SIT probe against IAS officer

On Wednesday, All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen president Asaduddin Owaisi lashed out at the Uttar Pradesh government for initiating a probe against senior IAS officer Mohammad Iftikharuddin.

Two days after purported 6 year old video clips of Iftikharuddin, talking about spreading Islam to every home, were circulated on social media, the Uttar Pradesh government on Tuesday ordered an inquiry by a special investigation team.

Iftikharuddin, a 1985-batch IAS officer, is currently chairman of the Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation.

“The video has been taken out of context and is from a time when this government was not even in power,” Owaisi said, calling UP police action a “blatant targeted harassment based on religion.”

The video clips are reported to be from 2014-17, when he was posted as Kanpur divisional commissioner.

In one of the purported video clips, Iftikharuddin is seen sitting with a group of men, apparently clerics, and is heard saying that it is their duty to spread Islam to every home. The video clips are reported to be taken at the residence of the official when he was the Kanpur divisional commissioner.

“If the parameter is that no officer should be connected to religious activity then prohibit use of all religious symbols/images in offices. If merely discussing faith at home is a crime then punish any officer participating in public religious celebration. Why double standards?” asks Hyderabad MP and vocal opponent of Hindu nationalist BJP.

UP Minister of Law and Justice Brajesh Pathak said the government had taken cognizance of the videos and given instructions for investigation.

The state home department said the government has formed a two-member SIT to look into the matter and submit a report in seven days. CB-CID Director General GL Meena will head the team, which includes ADG (Kanpur) Bhanu Bhaskar.

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