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Allahabad High Court – Court refuses bail to government employee accused of converting people to Islam by misusing official position

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Prayagraj. Allahabad High Court recently upheld an order of a trial court denying bail to a Central Government employee, accused of converting people to Islam by misusing his official position.

A Bench of Justices Ramesh Sinha and Brij Raj Singh took into account the cogent and clinching evidence found by the investigating officer that the appellant Irfan Shaikh along with his co-accused were involved in the anti-national activities of conversion.

“Considering the facts and circumstances of the case, particularly the fact that the Investigating Officer, after due investigation, has found cogent and clinching evidence against the appellant that with the connivance of co-accused Umar Gautam and others, appellant is involved in anti-national activities of conversation by misusing his official position while working in Sign Language Training and Research Centre, New Delhi as Interpreter, we don’t find any good ground to grant bail to the appellant,” the Court ordered.

The petitioner was accused of being a vital link of the syndicate run by one Umar Gautam, a converted Muslim, and his associates by way of an organisation called Islamic Dawa Centre for the purpose of conversion. It was also stated that huge funds were allegedly being provided to Islamic Dawa Centre from various sources including foreign countries.

This material was unearthed by the police on receiving information from a sub-inspector that certain anti-social and anti-national people had targeted those from weaker sections of the society and children, women and people belonging to Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes.

It was said that their object and goal was to change the demography of country by converting citizens from one religion to another in order to disturb the peace and tranquility of society.

On investigation into these claims, it also came their knowledge that students of a deaf and dumb school had been converted in an illegal manner.

A First Information Report came to be registered against Gautam and other accused persons under the Indian Penal Code and the Uttar Pradesh Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act.

Following this, the role of the appellant was discovered. Once the investigating officer collected material and clinching evidence against the accused including the appellant, a charge sheet was filed.

The appellant approached the High Court after the trial court rejected his bail application.

He contended that he was not a member of any association nor involved in any crime.

It was argued that he was made an accused only on the basis of a statement of the co-accused, and there was no other evidence against him.

He further submitted that he had contributed a lot, not only for the deaf, but society at large. He had been working as an interpreter in Indian Sign Language Training and Research Centre, New Delhi since 2016 under Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment.

However, the State opposed the bail and argued that involvement of the appellant was found during the investigation.

It was further stated that the appellant played a constructive role in conversion of deaf and dumb persons by misrepresentation.

After hearing the parties, the Court did not find good grounds to grant bail to the appellant and affirmed the trial court’s order.

Input Courtesy – LiveLaw

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