Renowned Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad has raised questions over the working of the ATS and has asked for a fair investigation into religious conversions case slapped on two men in Uttar Pradesh.
Following the arrest of Mufti Jahangir and Umar Gautam by UP ATS, the links of religious conversion are being probed all across the state.
Talking to reporters, Jawad said: “UP ATS should ensure a fair investigation of this whole matter. Also, it should be kept in mind that no innocent person is punished.”
Maulana Jawad said, “The statements of those who have been converted should be recorded. Were they really forced to convert to Islam or did they convert voluntarily? If a person voluntarily converts, then he cannot be held guilty in the Indian Constitution, because every religion has the right to promote its religion as per the Indian Constitution.
“Whether it is Hinduism, Muslim religion or Christianity, there is complete freedom in any religion to propagate its religion.”
He further explained that “Forced conversion cannot be done in Islam. Moreover, if a person is forced to convert, then that person is not considered to be included in Islam.”
On the issue of foreign funding, Jawad said that it is a failure on the part of agencies if funding was going on from foreign countries.
“If the agencies say that funding was being done from abroad and that is why religious conversion was being done, then they should prove this.
“They should also reveal from which countries the money was coming and how the money kept coming for so long and the investigating agencies did not even know about it. This is a big lapse in terms of security,” he pointed out.
The UP ATS arrested two clerics, accusing them of converting people under duress using “fear and temptation”.
During their interrogation, the police found that Gautam himself converted to Islam.
“He had disclosed that they have converted at least 1,000 people to Islam so far. The two men have also disclosed that they received funds from international organizations with the purpose of converting people into Islam,” UP ADG (Law and Order) Prashant Kumar had said.
The matter came to light when parents of a student of Noida Deaf Society reported that their son has been missing and was later found to have been forcefully converted to Islam.
Both accused have been booked for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc, injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion, criminal conspiracy and cheating.