Gujarat: Two more arrested in the Bharuch forced religious conversion case, so far 16 arrested

100 people from 37 tribal families were forcibly converted to Muslim, 14 arrested | NewsTrack English 1

In a significant development in the Bharuch forced conversion case, in which people from the tribal communities were converted to Islam, two more culprits have been arrested in Gujarat. The total number of arrested accused in this case has now risen to 16. Earlier, the Gujarat police had arrested 14 people involved in this conversion racket that operated in the Kakariya village of Amod Taluka of Bharuch district. The arrests were made by the Special Operation Group (SOG) of the Gujarat police.

According to a report by Desh Gujarat, the two arrested are identified as Sarfaraz alias Javid Khuji alias Javid Mufti Salim Hasan Yusuf Ibrahim Patel (a resident of Achhod) and Ramiz Raja alias Owais Abdugani Abdulrahim Khanji (a resident of Nadiad in Kheda district). The two played a crucial role in arranging the incentives for the people to be converted into Islam. Both of them were responsible for managing hand carts, food, clothes, and medicines for the ‘targets’. They also ensured that the financially challenged people of the Kakariya village get employment and thus can be converted in exchange. They also made money promises to the target people from the tribal communities.

The Bharuch conversion case

In 2018, one Pravin Vasava of Amod, Bharuch got converted to Islam. Vasava belonged to the Vasava Hindu tribal community. He converted to Islam and went by the name Salman Patel. As per notarised documents filed in Surat in 2018, he had stated that he was in touch with people from the Muslim community for a year and was convinced Islam is the religion of peace and true religion. He claimed he wanted to convert to Islam and none of his relatives had any objection to the same. He had claimed he was not lured into embracing Islam and he did it of his own free will.

Later, he filed a complaint alleging that he was forcibly converted to Islam. The complaint led to the discovery of the racket of mass conversions that operated in the Bharuch district of Gujarat. The tribal families in the Amod Taluka of the district were being taught that Hinduism is not a religion and Islam is the only true religion. The people were being lured and trapped by the Muslims who were in fact themselves recent converts from Hinduism to Islam.

Poor people from the tribal communities were promised good employment by those operating the conversion racket. Along with all the tall promises, the racket handlers also promised that they will take care of all the formalities and documentation and change the names on all the identity proofs after conversion.

The affidavits were made in Surat. Food grains, help in business, employment, marriages, second marriages, well-built houses, and money were the baits promised by the racket operators to the poor tribals. One of the accused Fefdawala Haji Abdullah originally hails from the Nabipur village in Bharuch but currently lives in London. He used to fund the conversion racket. A video from a few years back shows him boasting about the conversion of Hindus to Islam.

Police lodged a complaint against nine persons under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Bill, 2021 Act, and various sections of the Indian Penal Code. The accused have been identified as Shabbir Bakerywala, Samad Bakerywala, Abdul Aziz Patel, Yusuf Patel, Ayyub Patel, Ibrahim Patel, Fefdawala Haji Abdullah, Hasan Tisli, and Ismail Achhodwala. All the accused are local residents barring Fefdawala Haji Abdullah who lives in London. Around 150 people of 37 families in the Bharuch district were converted by this racket.

It is believed that the mass conversion in Bharuch has links with the mass religious conversion racket in Uttar Pradesh. Two maulvis were arrested in June 2021 by the Anti-Terrorism Squad, Uttar Pradesh where they were accused of converting at least 1,000 people to Islam.

The accused were later identified as Mufti Qazi Jahangir Qasmi and Mohammad Umar Gautam and were residents of Jamia Nagar in South Delhi. The two accused, who ran an organization named Islamic Dawah Centre(IDC), along with their other associates, were charged for mass conversion of people into Islam through inducements such as marriage, job and money, and mental pressure.

So far 14 arrests were done in the Bharuch mass conversion case. The Gujarat police have now arrested 2 more accused, taking the total count of arrests in this case to 16.

Source : OpIndia

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