Anti-conversion law: AIMIM seeks President’s intervention in releasing Kaleem Siddiqui from UP police custody

Kaleem Siddiqui was arrested by UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Meerut city on September 22 for his alleged involvement in the “illegal conversion racket”.

The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) Gujarat on Monday submitted a memorandum to the Ahmedabad district collector demanding the immediate release of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui who has been arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police under anti-conversion law.

Kaleem Siddiqui, who is a prominent cleric from Muzaffarnagar of Uttar Pradesh, was arrested by UP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) from Meerut city on September 22 for his alleged involvement in the “illegal conversion racket”.

Police have booked Siddiqui under sections of UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act 2020 and sections of the Indian Penal code for fraud (420), criminal conspiracy (120B) and promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion (153a and 153b).

In a memorandum addressed to President Ram Nath Kovind, Sabir Kabliwala, the AIMIM Gujarat president said, “India is a secular country which doesn’t believe in a single or specific religion. The Constitution of India under article 25 and 26 grants freedom to its citizens to practise and propagate their own religion.”

“The Bharatiya Janata Party in its governed states has been making laws that are against the freedom granted to citizens regarding their religions and such laws are passed by different states’ governors without any questions asked. In this manner, Gujarat, UP, Madhya Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Himachal Pradesh and Jharkhand have passed anti-conversion laws that is a direct attack on the constitutional rights of the people. Under the same law, cleric Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui has been accused by the UP government of facilitating mass conversions and without any evidence, he has been arrested by UP Police,” it added.

“AIMIM clearly believes that the Constitution of India grants freedom to its people to propagate their religions and in that process, if people from different faiths join them then it is not illegal. We believe that the arrest of Siddiqui and his associates is an illegal act. We demand his immediate release along with other persons arrested in this so-called illegal conversion racket. We also demand to the President of India to study the anti-conversion laws in each states, including Gujarat and UP, and to inform their state governments to cancel all such laws and to ensure that in future such anti-constitutional acts are not passed,” the memorandum stated.

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