The Gujarat High Court last Monday denied anticipatory bail to an Islamic preacher named Varyava Abdul Vahab Mahmood accused of converting 37 Hindu families i.e. 100 Hindus to Islam in exchange for money. Reportedly, Mahmood in connivance with 5 others named, Shabbirbhai, Samadbhai, Abdul Aziz, Yusuf and Aiyub had been running the illegal conversion racket. However, fearing that the authorities were moving against him, Mahmood filed a bail plea in connection with an FIR filed last year.
According to a LawBeat report, Justice BN Karia whilst hearing the case observed, “Prima facie from the record produced by the prosecution, it appears that the present appellant has attempted to convert directly or otherwise, any person from one religion to another by use of force or by allurement or by any fraudulent means nor any person abet such conversion.”
Dismissing the bail plea, the Judge added, “Considering the material placed on record before this Court… this Court is not inclined to accept the prayer to release the appellant on anticipatory bail, as prayed for. Hence, this appeal deserves to be dismissed and accordingly, the same is dismissed.”
It is pertinent to note that Mahmood’s racket was busted when a man named Pravinbhai Vasantbhai Vasava (converted to Salman Vasant Patel) filed a complaint in November last year with the Aamod police in Bharuch city against two people, namely, Shabbirbhai Bakerywala and Samadbhai Bakerywala.
Reportedly, when Pravinbhai showed a willingness to convert to Hinduism once again, the gang of Islamic preachers threatened him with dire consequences. The threats eventually forced Pravinbhai to file the FIR which bust open the case in front of the authorities.
In the FIR, Pravinbhai revealed that accused Yusuf, Aiyub and others also created a Whatsapp group where they spewed vitriolic content against the Hindu community through videos, speeches, and chats.
Consequently, Sections 466, 467, 468 and 471 of the IPC and Section 3(2)(5-A) of the Atrocities Act were filed. Additionally, the accused were booked under Section 4A of the Freedom of Religion Act and 84C of the Information Technology Act, 2002.
Not the first Pyramid scheme by an Islamic cleric
However, this is not the first time that a Muslim cleric has been caught running a pyramid scheme of conversion. Reported extensively by TFI, the Uttar Pradesh ATS last year busted a massive illegal conversion racket run by two individuals named Mohammad Umar Gautam and Mufti Qazi Jahangir Qasmi.
The lid on the racket was blown after the radical Islamists pried upon deaf and mute students and converted them into Islam. The duo of Umar and Qazi ran an organisation named Islamic Dawah Centre (IDC), along with their other associates.
According to several media reports, it is suspected that Umar’s conversion racket received foreign donations from NGOs based in the US, Qatar, Kuwait, and other countries as well.
Umar Gautam converted over 1000 Hindus to Islam
While Mohammad Umar Gautam was earlier a Hindu named Shyam Prasad Singh Gautam, he changed his religion after coming in touch with a Muslim man in his neighbourhood.
Later, he converted his wife and his mother into Islam and started using every dirty trick in the book to lure, financially weak and disabled people into his cult of conversion – wanting to prove his Muslimness to the ummah.
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.
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.
The UP and Gujarat chapters of the illegal conversion racket may just be the tip of the iceberg. The authorities need to be quick on their feet and ensure that all such rackets running across different states are busted with promptness. The Indian Muslim clerics are more radical than their Arabic counterparts and thus they are much more ruthless in their conversion activities.