Madrasa teacher among 3 held for propagating conversion in Magh Mela
Prayagraj police on Tuesday arrested three persons, including a madrasa teacher, who were allegedly part of a religious conversion racket at the ongoing annual Magh Mela
Prayagraj police on Tuesday arrested three persons, including a madrasa teacher, who were allegedly part of a religious conversion racket at the ongoing annual Magh Mela.
Of those arrested, two had converted to Islam sometime back and were found selling and distributing ‘suspicious’ Islamic books and pamphlets with the motive of encouraging religious conversion, police claimed.
“The accused also distributed objectionable books at other Hindu religious places including Kashi Vishwanath Temple and Assi Ghat in Varanasi, Hanuman temple at Prayagraj,” said ADCP (crime) Satish Chandra.
“The prime accused Mehmood Hasan Gazi used to hire youth for ₹5000 for the purpose. After the arrest, the accused informed that they used to take photographs, mobile numbers and other details of those persons whom they gave books for distribution,” he said.
The arrests followed after a BJP MP tweeted about the distribution of objectionable literature in the Mela area following which police had detained two youths for questioning on Monday.
ADCP said soon after, Mehmood Hasan Gazi hailing from Husainganj area of Fatehpur, (at present residing in Kareli area), Mohd Monish aka Ashish Kumar Gupta of Sarai Inayat in Prayagraj and Sameer aka Naresh Kumar Saroj of Pipri area of Kaushambi were arrested by SOG team led by sub inspector Rajesh Upadhyay on Tuesday.
Police claimed during interrogation, Gazi confessed that he used to get funding from Abu Dhabi via a local person in Shahganj area of Prayagraj for religious conversion.
“He got funding using e-wallets,” police said adding further investigations were underway to unearth details about the racket and foreign funding received till now.
The accused have been booked under different sections of the IPC and Unlawful Religious Conversion Prohibition Act 2021.
Police claimed 204 suspicious Islamic books, 3 mobiles, 4 aadhaar cards, ₹2600 cash and a diary were recovered from their possession.
Police claimed that during interrogation, the prime accused Mehmood Hasan revealed that he was a president of Bazm-e-Paigam-e-Behdaniyat and was a teacher at Madrasa Islamia Himdadia in Mariadih village of Puramufti.
“Mehmood Hasan used to print books and pamphlets in which Islamic religion was exaggerated while objectionable comments were made against Hindu religion. Some books compiled and printed by Mehmood presented wrong interpretation and meaning of Vedic hymns and ‘shlokas’,” the ADCP said.
“Youth of poor financial backgrounds were lured to distribute books and pamphlets at Hindu religious places. The motive behind distribution of objectionable material was to encourage religious conversion. People of weaker sections were soft targets,” ADCP said.
“Some books were printed locally while some were printed in Delhi but contained no ISBN number. The books were written by unknown persons but mentioned fake names of authors and contained objectionable comments that could hurt religious sentiments,” he added.
The police claimed Mohd Monish aka Ashish Gupta converted to Islam under influence of his uncle Saeed Ahmad. Monish is the eastern zonal secretary of Student Islamic Organisation (not banned). Sameer aka Naresh converted to Islam around 12 years back and married a Muslim woman. He earlier used to work as a tailor but later joined the racket. They were distributing books and pamphlets on a kiosk in mela area, police said.