|Maulana Umar Gautam, Mufti Jahangir Qasmi|
New Delhi, 29 June 2021: Various organisation and leaders including Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Jamiat Ulama Hind, SIO, former Delhi Minority commissioner Dr ZafarulIslam Khan, renowned Shia scholar Renowned Shia scholar Maulana Kalbe Jawad have raised serious questions over the arrest of Maulana Umar Gautam and Mufti Qazi Jahangir Alam Qasmi.
The Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terror Squad recently arrested them on several charges and now they are being investigated.
In a statement, JIH Vice President Prof. Mohammad Salim Engineer has strongly condemned their arrest and called it completely against the justice. He said, “the manner in which they were arrested and are being implicated in serious charges and the way a section of the media is overreacting, it clearly shows that attempts are being made to exploit public sentiments by creating a charged atmosphere of fear, intimidation and hatred for political mileage. Such attempts to divert attention from the real public issues to create a sentimental atmosphere in view of the UP Assembly elections to be held eight months later, are very regrettable.”He said, “Our Constitution gives every citizen the right to choose, practice and propagate the religion of his choice. No one can deprive him of this right. Making unfounded allegation of terrorism and threaten to invoke stringent laws like NSA and seizure of property are tantamount to challenge the democracy and the Indian Constitution.” Urging justice loving people, organizations and the political parties to raise their voices against such injustices, Prof. Salim Engineer said that they should take steps to protect the rights of citizens.
Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind-M leader Maulana Mahmood Madani has said that the manner in which Omar Gautam and others have been arrested on charges of forcible conversion and the way in which the media is presenting the case is highly reprehensible. He said, "in the case of minorities and weaker sections, it has become a common trend for the media to become judges and present them as criminals. In the past, a similar attitude was adopted towards the Tablighi Jamaat. As a result, those who are accused have to suffer a lot, and the people associated with them have to suffer a lot, and later when the courts acquit them, the same media shrouds them." He said that Jamiat Ulema-i-Hind will pursue the case of Omar Gautam and others in court.
Senior member of All India Muslim Personal Law Board Maulana Kalbe Jawad has raised questions over the working of ATS and has asked for a fair investigation. He said, “the arrest by UP ATS is not correct many times and there should be a fair investigation of this whole matter. Also, it should be kept in mind that no innocent person is punished.”
Condemning the arrest, Dr Zafarul Islam Khan said, "Umar Gautam’s issue is not his personal. He was doing his work well within his rights, as per Article 25 of the constitution. If he has done something wrong, then it should be investigated in a transparent manner. But the media trial and UP government’s eagerness to implicate him indicates that the matter is something else. In fact, they want to prepare ground for UP election, create Hindu-Muslim polarization and spark communal riots. This type of hype is necessary for all this."
Prominent civil rights body Association for protection of civil rights (APCR) has called their arrest an attack on the citizens' right to freedom of religion of the country. APCR General Secretary Malik Mutasim Khan, said, "the recent arrests of Maulana Umar and Qazi Jahangir are not isolated incidents but the result of concerted efforts by the UP government through its agencies and laws over the past few years to end the right to freedom to change one's religion or belief."
In a statement one of the largest students bodies, Students Islami Organisation of India (SIO) said, "we strongly condemn Mohammad Umar Gautam and Mufti Jahangir Qasmi's arrest and appeal for their immediate release. The state government and a section of media is using this case for their own vested political interests and to fan communal hatred."