Lucknow court schedules September 14 as the next date of hearing
Ahmed Kasim | Clarion India
NEW DELHI — Chief Judicial Magistrate, Lucknow, has approved Uttar Pradesh Police’s application seeking fresh charges of conspiracy against Maulana Umar Gautam and five others who are in jail since late June in connection with a case of alleged “conversion racket”.
The fresh charges include waging war against India.
The treason charges were added on August 31, just a day before the hearing for bail. As the court proceeding began on Monday, September 1, the police informed the CJM that Sections 121A and 123 have been invoked against Gautam and his associates Mufti Jahangir Alam Qasmi, Irfan Sheikh, Salahuddin Sheikh, Prasad Rameshwar, Adam Arsalan and sought their remand from the court.
The police reasoned that these sections have been invoked because the accused were working against the unity and integrity of the country and conspiring to dismantle the democratically elected government.
The application further states that the accused were carrying out “illegal conversions” in order to turn India into an “Islamic state”.
The CJM, while approving the application, scheduled September 14 as the next date of hearing and asked the police to present the accused before the court.
Gautam’s daughter rubbished the police allegations against her father and termed the fresh charges as baseless. The police have failed to submit the chargesheet on time and invoked the fresh charges to get more time from the court, she told Clarion India. She also said that his father has been jailed because Yogi-led BJP government wants to make use of this case in the upcoming UP Assembly elections.
Activist Rahul Kapoor who has come out in support of Gautam said, “it is incomprehensible how and why such serious sections have been invoked against Umar Gautam.”
Earlier on August 24, reports said that Gujarat Police had also registered a case against Gautam and Salauddin Shaikh in Vadodara allegedly for diverting funds of a charitable trust for illegal religious conversions and dispatched a team to Uttar Pradesh to arrest them. Vadodara Police filed the case under several sections of Indian Penal Code including 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities), 465 (forgery) and 120-B (criminal conspiracy).
Gautam and Qasmi were arrested on 20 June 2021 by Uttar Pradesh’s Anti-Terror Squad on allegations that they were converting non-Muslims to Islam illegally. The UP Police had registered FIR (09/201) in Lucknow against the accused on charge of cheating, criminal conspiracy, promoting enmity among religious groups and hurting religious sentiments.
Gautam heads the Islamic Da’wah Centre, a charitable institution in Delhi which helps people converting to Islam in completing legal formalities. The police accused him and Qasmi of converting 1,000 people forcibly to Islam.