Allahabad HC grants bail to Maulana Umar Gautam after 776 days, to remain in jail in other casestext_fields
The Allahabad High Court granted bail to prominent Islamic scholar Maulana Umar Gautam on Friday, according to his lawyer. Gautam had been imprisoned under a draconian anti-conversion law.
On June 20, 2021, the Anti-Terrorist Squad of Uttar Pradesh arrested him.
He nevertheless has to stay behind bars due to additional charges against him, Maktoob Media reported.
Authorities detained Gautam, a Muslim convert, Islamic scholar, and founder of the Islamic Da'wah Centre, along with a colleague on June 20, 2021, after he and his organisation were charged with converting thousands of people to Islam against their will, including hearing-impaired students, arranging marriages for converts, and receiving funding from abroad. He was accused of conspiracy, cheating, upsetting religious sentiments, and violating other provisions of the Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act in Uttar Pradesh.
To look into claims of foreign funding and money laundering against Gautam, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) filed a complaint under the 2002 Prevention of Money Laundering Act on June 25, 2021.
An application to charge Gautam and other parties involved in the case with "conspiracy to commit offences" of waging war against the state (Section 121A IPC) and "concealing with intent to facilitate design to wage war" (Section 123 IPC) was accepted by a Lucknow court in September 2021.
In one of the cases against him, Gautam was given bail on February 11, 2022.
The members of Gautam's family have also come under attack, notably Abdullah Gautam, who was detained in November 2021 on suspicion of participating in conversions.