New Delhi: Even in times as distressing as this, when the entire world is struggling due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Uttar Pradesh ATS busted a racket and arrested two people for allegedly forcing over a thousand people to change their religion and convert to Islam, with funding from Pakistan's ISI.
In this segment of DNA, Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Monday (June 21) talks about a racket that was involved in the religious conversion of people, and they mostly targeted those belonging to poor families, unemployed youth, or people with a physical disability. The people involved in the racket used to lure their targets with money or financial stability and sometimes, marriages. Notably, this racket had performed religious conversions of around 1000 people belonging to the non-Muslim community until now. People who were converted to Islam were mostly people with speech or hearing impairment.
The gang was operating from Jamia Nagar in New Delhi, the national capital. Not many know that the Batla House Operation by Delhi Police to arrest a cell of terrorists hiding in a flat after the 2008 bomb blasts, had taken place in the same Jamia Nagar area of Delhi.
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A top Uttar Pradesh official said that several women were forced to change their religion and were married off. The racket was also operating in Noida, Kanpur, and Mathura. The police is also tracking the people who got trapped in the racket and is investigating further to understand how they influenced people.
The arrests were made by Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad following the registration of an FIR in the case at Lucknow's ATS police station on June 3, 2021. The FIR mentioned that on June 2, two suspicious persons, carrying surgical blades, religious books and some liquids in vials, entered a temple in Ghaziabad. When these people were caught, they introduced themselves as Vipul Vijayvargiya and Kashi Gupta. However later, it was found out that the person who introduced himself as Kashi Gupta, was Kashif; whereas the original name of Vipul Vijayvargiya was Ramzan. The FIR further stated that they had entered the temple with an intention to kill the priest.
When the Uttar Pradesh Police began an investigation, they found out that for some time, some people belonging to a racket were involved in forceful converting people of the non-Muslim community to Islam. The gang was also marrying them all to people belonging to the Muslim community.
The police identified the two accused as Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam, both residents of Jamia Nagar in New Delhi. Gautam lived in Batla House of Jamia Nagar, the infamous site of September 2008 encounter between the Special Cell of Delhi police and Indian Mujahideen operatives, in which Inspector Mohan Chand Sharma was gunned down by terrorists, two of whom were shot dead and two arrested, while two other had escaped. Additional Director General of Police (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar said Gautam, who is himself a convert to Islam from Hinduism, boasted to the police of having converted at least 1,000 people to Islam, luring them with marriage, money and jobs.
The outfit that they ran is named Islamic Dawah Center, having access to funds from Pakistan's ISI and other foreign agencies, The ADGP said. He added that the ATS had been working on the case on the intelligence that some people were getting funds from ISI and other foreign agencies for converting poor people to Islam and spreading communal enmity in the society.
The ATS probe has resulted in the duo's arrest, said Kumar, adding they have been booked on various charges including those under the Indian Penal Code and Uttar Pradesh's stringent anti-conversion law. Kumar said the arrested accused would be produced before the court and the police would seek their custody for further probe into the case.