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SIT investigation against UP IAS Officer: Owaisi, Shia leader support officer

SIT investigation against UP IAS Officer: Owaisi, Shia leader support officer

AIMIM leader Asaduddin Owaisi (file photo)

Lucknow: The All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president Asaduddin Owaisi has taken exception to Uttar Pradesh police proceeding against IAS officer Mohd Iftikharuddin, who is being investigated on charges of religious conversions.

Owaisi alleged that the BJP government in the state was targeting Muslims for political mileage. Owaisi said, "The UP government set up an SIT to 'investigate' a six-year-old video of a senior IAS officer. The video has been taken out of context and is from a time when this government was not in power. This is blatant and targeted harassment based on religion."

Accusing the state government of double standards, Owaisi commented, "If the parameter is that no officer should be connected to religious activity, then prohibit use of all religious symbols/images in offices. If merely discussing faith at home is a crime, then punish all officers participating in public religious celebration."

Well-known Shia leader, Maulana Kalbe Jawad, has also come out in support of the IAS officer.

He said, "Every person has the right to pray in his house. If this IAS officer offered prayers in a particular manner in his house, why should he be tried for it? SIT probe in every matter is not justified because everyone has the freedom of religion."

The Yogi Adityanath government has been chasing cases of any religious conversions and invoking provisions of the state's law enacted a few months agao, banning conversions under force or inducements.

The UP ATS has arrested more than 14 people on charges of being involved in large-scale conversions across the country through their organisations.

The police allegation against them is that they were involved in offering money, threatening innocents and luring them to convert to Islam.

In the case of the IAS officer, Iftikharuddin, he is accused of the offences based on certain videos, which according to The Wire was said to be taken at his official residence, when he was the Kanpur divisional commissioner between 2014 and 2017. The Wire also notes that propagating a religion or extolling its virtue is not an offence, nor is inviting a religious preacher to one's officially allotted accommodation, and therefore it is not clear under which provisions the SIT investigation is on.

Iftikharuddin told a TV channel that he had said nothing objectionable in the video that its reporter showed him.

Further, as per reports, the videos do not indicate the use or threat of force, or of any kind of allurement which under current anti-conversion law in UP, would have constituted an offence. The videographed event happened five years ago when the law was not in force.

However Brajesh Pathak UP minister of law and justice has said that the place where the IAS officer is sitting and preaching seems to be a government property, "which is not at all appropriate legally or constitutionally".

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TAGS:UP IAN officer allegation of religious conversion SIT investigation AsaduddinOwaisi 
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