UP: SIT to investigate Senior Muslim IAS officer over 6-year-old video

Hyderabad: The Uttar Pradesh government has ordered an inquiry by a Special Investigation Team (SIT) against senior IAS officer Mohammad Iftekharuddin. The move came after videos were shared alleging that he was preaching about ‘religious conversion’ at his official residence.

The videos were reportedly filmed in UP’s Kanpur. Mr Iftekharuddin is a 1985 batch officer who was posted in Kanpur between 2007 and 2018 in various positions. Now, he is in Lucknow as chief of the state’s Road Transport Corporation and has reportedly said that he has been “misinterpreted.”

The videos were first shared by the verified twitter account of Neeraj Jain, who is the Deputy Mayor of the municipal corporation in Ajmer, Rajasthan.

The same video was also shared by the Twitter account of Sudharshan News, which in the past has been accused of peddling hate against Muslims through television and social media.

The UP government’s home department this morning in a tweet said that the SIT’s inquiry would be headed by an officer of director general of police (DGP), rank and that it would submit its report in seven days.

UP deputy chief minister Keshav Maurya earlier this week on September 27 remarked that the state would take this matter seriously. “There will be an inquiry and we will take action after it concludes,” he said in response to a question from a journalist, reporter NDTV.

Reacting to the setting up of the SIT, AIMIM chief and Hyderabad Lok Sabha member of Parliament Asaduddin Owaisi said that the video has been taken out of context and is from a time when this government wasn’t even in power.

In a tweet on Wednesday, he said “This is blatant targeted harassment based on religion. If the parameter is that no officer should be connected to religious activity then prohibit use of all religious symbols/images in offices.”

Furthermore, he questioned if merely discussing faith at home is a crime then punish any officer participating in public religious celebration.