ATS arrests sign language expert of Child Welfare ministry, 2 others for complicity in religious conversion racket

Updated on Jun 28, 2021 09:25 PM IST

A week after two men were arrested for allegedly running a mass scale conversion racket, Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of UP Police on Monday arrested three people, including sign language expert working in the Union Ministry of Child and Family Welfare, for their alleged complicity in the racket

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By, Lucknow

A week after two men were arrested for allegedly running a mass scale conversion racket, Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) of UP Police on Monday arrested three people, including sign language expert working in the Union Ministry of Child and Family Welfare, for their alleged complicity in the racket.

The accused were arrested in Lucknow.

Confirming the development, ATS chief GK Goswami said, “We have arrested one Irfan Khawaja Khan, resident of Maharashtra, who worked as an interpreter at ministry of women and child development. He was arrested along with Rahul Bhola of New Delhi and Mannu Yadav alias Mannan of Gurgaon. Both are hearing and speech impaired persons. The accused used to come in contact with children who have hearing and speech impairment and lure them into converting to Islam.”

The name of the accused cropped up during interrogation of Jahangir Qazi and Umar Gautam, who were arrested by ATS last week.

On the basis of the information, ATS officials summoned the trio to Lucknow and arrested them post questioning.

“Irfan has good contacts among deaf people. With his expertise in sign language, he has been seeking to wean their targets to Islam by poisoning their minds against other religions, including their own. Bhola and Mannu Yadav used to approach such children and lured them for conversion. We have sufficient evidence to establish that Mannu Yadav was involved in conversion of children,” the officials said.

The conversion racket came into light when Umar Gautam and Jahangir Alam, both residents of Jamia Nagar, New Delhi were arrested for their involvement in large-scale illegal conversions of people of different faiths to Islam in UP and other parts of the country.

Jahangir Alam, a mufti (Islamic preacher), is linked with the Islamic Da’wah Centre (IDC) in Delhi’s Jamia Nagar and allegedly used the centre for mass conversions. Umar Gautam embraced Islam a few years ago and looked for vulnerable people for conversion, said police.

The ATS has lodged an FIR against the duo, some unidentified people and the IDC’s chairman under IPC sections 420 (cheating and dishonesty), 120 B (criminal conspiracy) 153 A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion) 153 B (imputations, assertions prejudicial to national integration) 295 (injuring or defiling place of worship) 511(attempt to commit offences) along with relevant sections of UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act. The FIR was lodged at ATS police station in Lucknow.

Police officials have claimed that the gang was involved into conversion of over 1,000 people in the last 18 months but has not revealed the details of the victims.

The state government has earlier directed to invoke National Security Act (NSA) against the accused involved in the mass conversion racket.

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