Union Public Service Commission (UPSC), believed to be one of the most politically neutral arms of the state has come under the scanner for its inability to filter out Jihadi elements from its annual list of newly recruited IAS officers. The conversion racket run by IAS Mohammad Iftikharuddin is a glaring testament to the commission’s failure in upholding ‘constitutional secularism’ in the country.
SIT completes its investigation on Islamic conversion
The Special investigation team (SIT) formed by Uttar Pradesh (UP) government has submitted its report to the government. The officers engaged in the investigation on UP’s conversion racket witnessed some shocking revelations almost on a daily basis. In its investigation, the SIT found that Mohammad Iftikharuddin, the former Divisional Commissioner and the Chairman of Uttar Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation had conducted a large number of conversions in more than eight districts of the state.
According to the Jagran report, Iftikharuddin had pressurised the settlers of CTS to convert to Islam or face some legal consequence if they do not do so. The SIT has further revealed that he ran his conversion racket in the Sanchedi village of Kanpur. Iftikharuddin had made huge inroads into Western Uttar Pradesh too and evidence of his engagement in converting people in Saharanpur and Muzaffarnagar have been recovered by the SIT. In the 550-page investigation report, objectionable content of literature and videos has been included as evidence. The SIT has gathered 80 videos and 7 books from him. All 7 books have been written by him to lure people into Islam, whilst the videos are said to be shot inside the commissioner’s house allocated to the sitting officer.
Iftikharuddin has confessed to his Guilt in the action but showed no signs of regret to SIT. Meanwhile, the UP government is working on modalities to conduct Anti-Terrorism squad’s investigation into the matter.
Mohaamad Iftikharuddin-A Jihadist throughout his life
As reported by TFI, in September 2021, Bhupesh Awasthi, the National Vice President of Math Mandir Coordination Committee alleged Iftikharuddin of running a conversion racket in UP. The controversy caught heat after undated videos went viral on social media platforms of him carrying out propaganda against Hinduism. In one of the videos, he could be heard as saying, “Declare to the people of the world that the sovereignty and authority of Allah are to be established in the whole world.”
The Yogi Adityanath government had constituted a two-member SIT headed by Director General CBCID GL Meena and membership of ADG Zone Bhanu Bhaskar to investigate the matter.
Jihad and UPSC Jihad
Colloquially, Jihad is understood to be used as a euphemism for bomb blast, suicide bombings, and other violent means used by Islamists against supposed Kaafirs (people who do not follow Islam). However, it’s a word that has a much wider meaning. Loosely its translates to anything done for the benefit of Islam. Converting people from other religions also comes under the term. Islamists use ‘Love Jihad’, ‘Land Jihad, and various other means to convert people into Islam and establish Islam’s territorial dominance. However, using an administrative post to bring people under the fold of Islam is a relatively new concept which society is trying to grapple with.
UPSC Jihad first came to public attention in August 2020. Suresh Chavanke led Sudarshan TV ran a trailer of upcoming news series in which the channel set out to expose the ‘infiltration’ of Muslims on a mass scale in Indian bureaucracy. The TV series especially pointed out Zakat Foundation for training youths to ‘infiltrate’ the bureaucracy.
The rigourous process of UPSC preparation requires not just hard work, but also a neutral approach towards society. An officer is not supposed to look at the religion of a person, instead, they need to interact with them as a sovereign individual. However, IAS Iftikharuddin’s episode hints towards mismanagement in IAS cadres when it comes to religious identities. UPSC needs to look into the issue and take action to weed out these kinds of Jihadis from the administration as these kinds of controversies have the potential to malign the image of UPSC.