In what comes as a new development in the mass Islamic conversion racket, the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) on Wednesday arrested one Salahuddin Zainuddin Sheikh from Vadodara in Gujarat. According to the ATS, Sheikh confessed he knew Mohammad Umar Gautam, the prime accused in the case, and that he used to send hawala money to Umar to fund the religious conversions.
“Accused Salauddin Sheikh was arrested from Vadodara and produced before a court in Ahmedabad on Wednesday evening. We have received the transit remand till July 3 for the accused and he has been handed over to the UP ATS team, which will take him to Lucknow,” a senior Police official with the Gujarat ATS was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
Sheikh is the sixth person to be arrested in the case as the police continue to unearth the extent of the case. According to a report by Desh Gujarat, Sheikh runs an NGO in Vadodara named AFMI Charitable Trust and had received foreign funding of nearly Rs 10 crore between 2016-2022.
Reported extensively by TFI, the duo of Mohammad Umar Gautam and Mufti Qazi Jahangir Qasmi ran an organisation named Islamic Dawah Centre (IDC), along with their other associates. According to several media reports, it is being suspected that Umar’s conversion racket received foreign donations from NGOs based in the US, Qatar, Kuwait, and other countries as well.
After being arrested, Umar Gautam was quoted as saying, “I converted at least 1,000 non-Muslims to Islam, marrying them all to Muslims.” He also confessed to having converted over 1,500 children at school for the deaf and mute in Noida on the pretext of employment and money.
In one of the earlier reports, TFI had mentioned how Gautam visited an English Medium school in Fatehpuri and forced teachers to convert the kids. When one of the teachers protested, Umar used his reach and power and got her expelled from the school.
As per a Jagran report, what made Umar’s conversion such big in scale was the pyramid style multi-level chain that he created of agents. Reportedly, the perpetrators of the conversion racket turned the ‘converts’ into ‘agents’ for some money. These agents were then assigned to attract people to the alleged ‘motivation’ camp for which they were paid Rs 5000. Upon conversion, the agents were paid anywhere between Rs 20,000 to Rs 25,000.
New developments are emerging in the case every day as the investigative agencies go deep into the racket. It is indeed implausible that Mohammad Umar Gautam, along with his accomplices managed to run a racket alone for years on stretch, without having the backing of big political and foreign powers.