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Anti-Terrorism Squad Arrests Muslim Cleric; Know Why

Muslim cleric Maulana Kaleem Siddique was arrested in Meerut by the Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) in a case related to religious conversions.

“He has claimed to have converted thousands of people to Islam across the country. We have found he ran a foundation that took foreign funding. The funding was used to support illegal conversion activities,” UP’s Additional Director General (law and order) Prashant Kumar said.

Police were alerted about the 53-year-old Siddique’s role in the alleged conversions during an investigation following the arrest of New Delhi’s Jamia Nagar residents Umar Gautam and Jahangir Alam three months ago for their alleged involvement in ‘illegal conversions’.

“Siddique was in contact with Gautam who was involved in religious conversions. Siddique ran Jamia Imam Waliullah Trust which collected donations from the country and abroad to fund their illegal conversion racket which was the largest such racket in the country,” informed Kumar, adding that they had found an unaccounted transaction of Rs 3 crore involving the trust.

“The money was used to fund conversion activities… Rs 1.5 crore from this money was sent from Bahrain in violation of the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act,” Kumar said.

Police also claimed that Siddique secured a funding of Rs 57 crore from a UK-based organization which the accused were unable to explain.

Six ATS teams, formed to investigate the conversions, have taken into custody 10 people so far. They have been booked them under IPC’s 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).