Monday, December 4, 2023

Four months after father’s arrest, UP STF now arrests Umar Gautam’s son under anti-conversion law

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Four months after prominent Muslim scholar Maulana Mohammed Umar Gautam was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) under draconian anti-conversion law, his son Abdullah has been arrested by the same investigation squad under the same charges on Sunday.

According to an official ATS release, Abdullah was arrested from Gautam Buddha Nagar and he is being interrogated about funding sources and links with other accused including his father in the case.

Yogi Adityanath’s police have been alleging that these Muslim scholars and institutions are running religious conversion syndicate across India.

At least 17 Muslims have been arrested by the ATS in connection with the case so far, including Maulana Umar Gautam, Abdullah, Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, Adam, Arslaan Mustafa, Kaushar Alam, and Mohammad Hafiz Idris.

Abdullah’s father and prominent Islamic scholar Umar Gautam was arrested on 20 June this year.

Talking to Maktoob, the daughter of Umar Gautam, had defended the innocence of her father refuting the claims of investigation agencies and media. She said the accusations are false and her father only exercised his constitutional rights.

Muslim bodies have said that the arrests of Muslim scholars violated their constitutional rights at every stage.

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‘.

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