Mufti Jahangir Qasmi was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad (UP ATS) in June 2021 over false accusations of converting Hindus to Islam. Qasmi is a religious scholar and has worked with the Islamic Da’wah Center (IDC). This charitable institution provides legal assistance to the converted, along with financial assistance to people from marginalized communities. The IDC assists converts in formalizing their religion; it was founded in 2010 by Maulana Umar Gautam, who was also arrested under similar charges.
The ATS falsely accused Mufti Qasmi of illegally converting deaf and mute people, arranging marriages for converts, receiving funds from abroad, converting weaker sections to Islam by force, inducement, and misrepresentation, waging war against the establishment and allegedly changing the demography of India.
As an IDC employee, Mufti Qasmi had been engaged in charitable activities and promoting the socio-religious affairs of the centre. He is respected in his community and has a considerable following. His followers on social media claimed that Qasmi had been wrongfully targeted in the alleged “conversion racket,” denying the charges leveled against him by the ATS.
The UP chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, directed the authorities to invoke the National Security Act (NSA), an anti-terrorism law, against religious scholars to stop the alleged conversions.
Amanatullah Khan, a Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) in Delhi, condemned the witch hunt, saying the arrest is a manifestation of increasing atrocities against Muslims under the ruling Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP). The human rights groups cited the misuse of anti-conversion legislation to criminalize the freedom of religion and conscience enshrined in the Constitution.
Charges and Allegations
Section 121-A (conspiracy to commit offences punishable by section 121) and 123 (concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war), 420 (cheating), 153A (outraging religious feelings), as well as sections of Uttar Pradesh’s Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act.
Not released yet.