UP police says Umar Gautam tried to change India’s ‘population demography’. Where’s the evidence?

The chargesheet does little to clarify how much of police's information proves either forced conversion or any anti-national activity.

WrittenBy:Akanksha Kumar
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Days before the first phase of polling for the Uttar Pradesh assembly, the Bharatiya Janata Party presented its election manifesto, the Lok Kalyan Sankalp Patra. In it, the party promised to amend the state’s anti-conversion law to introduce a minimum imprisonment of 10 years and a fine of Rs 1 lakh.

At present, the law, which was passed in November 2020, invites a penalty of up to 10 years in jail.

Conversion and fanning fears of “social engineering” have been among the BJP’s election planks during the recent campaign. When listing his government’s achievements, chief minister Adityanath mentioned the anti-conversion law. In October last year, an article by Adityanath’s biographer Shantanu Gupta in the Organiser – a publication affiliated to the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh – described the anti-conversion law as a “surgical strike”.

One of the cases that Gupta wrote about in some detail was the arrest of the founder and chairman of the Islamic Da’wah Centre, Mohammad Umar Gautam: “The Anti-Terrorism Squad found that Gautam had allegedly converted over 1,000 people to Islam and got many of them married to Muslims to prevent the possibility of their relapse to their earlier faith.”

Gupta claims that during interrogation, Gautam admitted to targeting “people from the economically-weaker society” for conversion.

In fact, there is no such admission in the chargesheet filed by the ATS.


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