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Foreign funding diverted for mass conversion to Islam: Gujarat police reaches UP to arrest Umar Gautam and Salahuddin Sheikh

The two are currently lodged in a Lucknow jail after being arrested by UP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for running a racket of forceful religious conversions of deaf and mute children.

In a parallel investigation against the two accused, a team of Vadodara police from Gujarat has reached Uttar Pradesh to arrest Umar Gautam and Salahuddin Sheikh, the two accused in the UP forced conversion case. The two are currently lodged in a Lucknow jail after being arrested by UP Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) for running a racket of forceful religious conversions. 

The duo reportedly was also involved in diverting funds of a charity organization for illegal religious conversions and to provide legal help to anti-CAA protestors, including those arrested in the Delhi riots. 

A release issued by the Special Operations Group (SOG) of Vadodara police informed that a police team from Vadodara has reached Lucknow with a production warrant issued by a local court. 

NGO received Rs 10 crore fund in 4 years

Salahuddin Sheikh was one of the six aides of Umar Gautam to be arrested. He was nabbed in a joint operation by the Gujarat and UP ATS in Gujarat in July.

Sheikh who is the Managing Trustee of AFMI Charitable Trust in Vadodara used to divert the foreign funds to Umar Gautam for religious conversions. 

Reportedly, Sheikh’s NGO had received nearly Rs 10 crore in foreign funds in a period of four years during 2016-2021. The majority of the funds received by the Salahuddin’s NGO were from UK and America-based organizations.

A five-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) was constituted by the Vadodara police to conduct further probes into the matter. Registering an FIR against Sheikh on Tuesday, the police issued a press release divulging more information. 

As per the release, Sheikh is said to have given Rs 6 crore to Umar Gautam for religious conversions and Rs 60 lakh as legal help to anti-CAA protestors arrested in connection with the Delhi riots. 

The accused has also diverted Rs 7.27 crore to his network in Gujarat, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh and Assam to build over 100 mosques in those states. 

Police teams have been sent to those states to unearth the entire network, said the release.

Umar Gautam involved in mass conversions

Umar Gautam along with his aide Mufti Qazi Jahangir Qasmi was arrested by the UP ATS in the month of June this year. The two accused ran an organisation named Islamic Dawah Centre(IDC), along with their other associates, to mass convert people into Islam through inducements such as marriage, job and money and mental pressure.

They have also been accused of specifically converting deaf and mute children. The investigations revealed that Gautam converted 1500 children at a deaf and dumb school in Noida to Islam. 

The two, and their organisation has been booked under Sections 420, 120 B, 153A, 153B, 295 and 511 of the Indian Penal Code and Section 3/5 of the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance-2020.

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OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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