The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) has arrested a cleric from Meerut for allegedly running a ‘biggest conversion syndicate’, a senior police official said in Lucknow on Wednesday.
Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui was arrested by the ATS, which is probing the racket, at around 9 pm on Tuesday from Meerut, Additional Director General (ADG), Law and Order, Prashant Kumar said.
He was brought to the ATS headquarters in Lucknow after being produced in a court, Kumar said.
Following the arrest of Delhi’s Jamia Nagar residents Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam, who ran Islamic Dawah Center, an outfit allegedly working on the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) funding for converting deaf-mute students to Islam, on June 20, the ATS is probing the conversion racket and has so far arrested 10 people besides Siddiqui, the official said.
He said it came to light during the probe that Gautam and his accomplice were funded Rs 57 crore by Britain-based Al-Falaa Trust but the two did not give details of its expenditure.
It was also found that Siddiqui is involved in the illegal conversion racket under the garb running various educational, social and religious organisations, Kumar said.
‘Foreign funding was done for this (conversion) in a big way and the illegal conversion was being carried out in a planned and organised way and many well-known and institutions are involved in it,’ the ADG said.
He said it also came to the fore that Siddiqui ran a ‘biggest conversion syndicate’ and threatened and misled people for conversion and prepared them for ‘Dawah’ (the act of inviting or calling people to embrace Islam).
The ATS found that he also runs Jamia Imaam Waliullah Trust, which is carrying out the illegal religious conversion in the name of running ‘communal harmony’ programmes, Kumar said.
Siddiqui is a resident of Muzaffarnagar. After doing a BSc from Meerut, he cleared Pre-Medical Test (PMT) but instead of pursuing MBBS he joined Nadwatul Ulema in Lucknow, he said.