Gujarat: FIR against 9 Muslims after 100 tribals embrace Islam

Amidst the clamp down on free religious propagation in India, the Gujarat police have booked nine Muslims after 100 tribals from 37 families of the “Vasava Hindu” community embraced Islam in the Kankariya village in Amod taluka of Bharuch district.

The police officials claimed that the nine Muslims converted the tribals to Islam using funds collected abroad, news agency PTI reported. “The accused persons took advantage of the weak economic condition and illiteracy among the members of the tribal community to lure them into conversion to Islam over a long period,” said a police official as quoted by PTI.

In the last seven years, there has been rising intolerance and hate against Muslim and Christian missionary movements in India, especially from the right-wing Hindu Nationalists who have exposed their own fear and insecurity. A Mufti who spoke to said, “Free religious propagation is essential in every society, it is a slap in the face of religious supremacists and extremists when people start choosing their own faith based on their own reasoning.”

The Bharuch police in a statement said: “The illegal religious conversion activity by Muslim fundamentalists using funds collected from abroad was going on for a long time at the village. The accused persons lured the Vasava Hindu community members by offering them money and other help to convert them fraudulently to Islam by entering into a criminal conspiracy hatched to spread animosity between members of two communities and affect peace.”

The nine Muslims booked by the police in Gujarat include a local man Fefdawala Haji Abdul who’s currently living in London. PTI reported that all the nine accused have been charged under the Gujarat Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act, as well as Sections 120 (B) (criminal conspiracy), 153 (B)(C) (act likely to cause disharmony), and 506 (2) (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.

In Uttar Pradesh, Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi and Maulana Umar Gautam were also arrested earlier by the state’s anti-terrorism squad accusing them of religious conversion.