Outrage Grows over Arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui

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Kaleem Siddiqui

The Islamic scholar is sent on 10-day police remand; two others detained with him freed

Zafar Aafaq  | Clarion India

NEW DELHI — Outrage is growing against the arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddique as a Lucknow court sent him on a 10 days of police remand.

Two of the students picked along with Siddiqui were freed hours later after police did not find them connected with the case.

On Thursday Siddiqui’s advocates filed a fresh application for bail after which the court heard arguments.

Advocate Abu Bakar Sabbaq representing Siddiqui said that they challenged the police demand of custody by telling the court that for collection of technical evidence like call details record the police do not require his custody as they can get that from telecom companies and forensic science laboratory.

Sabbaq said that they also defended the religious work of Siddiqui, the court that propagation of religion is the basic constitutional right of Siddiqui and that he has nowhere disturbed law and order or been involved in anti-national activities. “If there is any witness or complainant who has said that Siddiqui forced or threatened him for conversion, bring them as witness in the trial.”

He said that the case against Siddqui is “only and only political” and comes at a time when Uttar Pradesh is gearing up for elections.

On funding allegations, Sabbaq told the court that all organisations doing religious work in India receive funding from abroad in crores and that Siddiqui’s institution has been working for more than thirty years. “For any illegality in funding , then the income tax and enforcement directorate are there to probe that, ATS has nothing to do with that as propagating religions is neither unlawful nor anti-national.”

Several organisations and groups came out with statements in solidarity with Siddiqui denouncing the police action.

Jamaat-e-Islami Hind chief Syed Sadatullah Husaini called for immediate release of Siddiqui as he expressed concern over the action.

“The UP government should withdraw all charges against Maulana, release him immediately and ensure that he is dealt with in a just manner.”

Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui is a prominent and well respected Islamic scholar and has a following even among non-Muslims of society.

Social media users also ran a hashtag trending in support of Siddiqui and appealed to the government to release him. They said that work for religious conversion to Isam was being criminalised by the government despite being a constitutional right.

Student Islamic Organisation of India said that  the government cannot criminalise interfaith dialogue.

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