The first Indian module of radical Islamic outfit Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), which was busted by the Madhya Pradesh Police anti-terrorist squad (ATS) on May 9, has a religious conversion angle, sources have said.
Five suspects had married Hindu girls, with two of these men having converted to Islam only a few years prior.
ATS sources said two key accused of the busted module, including Bhopal-based gym trainer Yasir Khan and Hyderabad-based Mohd Salim, who till a few years back was known as Saurabh Rajvaidya, the son of Bhopal-based retired Ayurveda doctor Dr Ashok Jain.
Mohd Salim is a senior staff at the faculty of pharmacy at a college in Hyderabad, reportedly run by a politician’s family.
ATS sources said five of the accused were converted from Hinduism to Islam, including Mohd Salim (earlier Saurabh Raj Vaidya), Abdur Rehman (earlier Devi Narayan Panda) and Mohd Abbas Ali (earlier Benu Kumar).
Mohd Salim’s parents in Bhopal’s Berasiya area alleged that Dr Kamal, a senior colleague of their son when he was teaching at a private college in Bhopal in the early 2000, brainwashed him and converted him into “Salim”.
“He is our only son among our five children. It was Dr Kamal only who brainwashed him to switch to Islam and the videos of controversial fundamentalist Islamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik further contributed to our son’s conversion to Islam,” his father said.
“We’re in no way against Islam, but are proud of our religion and culture first and totally against that form of Islam which brainwashes people against our country. Since 2010, he started talking against our religion and culture and was never ready to hear anything about the Nabi (prophet). He even threatened to assault me once for opposing the beliefs of Nabi. Possibly, it was in 2011 or 2012 that an Islamist preacher from Barabanki made my son and daughter-in-law read the Islamic Kalima at an event in Bhopal and pronounced them later as converts to Islam,” his father said.
He said their son was possibly planning to go to Syria in 2010-11.
“He even stopped wearing rakhis on Raksha Bandhan from his sisters. When he continued to follow the other religious principles and disrespected our religion and beliefs, we had no option, but to ask him to leave our house,” his father said.
After leaving home, the M.Pharma-degree holder Saurabh turned Salim and lived with his wife and two children first in Bhopal for a few years, and later shifted to Hyderabad after getting a job at a prominent college there in 2019-20.
“Madhya Pradesh Police is a pesticide for jihadi cockroaches. A probe has revealed religious conversion of seven people (arrested in the case). And those who brainwashed these men to convert to Islam, included a gym trainer, a professor, a software engineer, a software technician and a private coaching operator. They first brainwashed youngsters to change their religion. After changing religion, the same youths who converted to the other religion, convinced their wives also to embrace the same religion. We won’t allow such developments in Madhya Pradesh,” state Home Minister Narottam Mishra said.
Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, while talking about the busting of the alleged HuT module by the state police, had said ‘The Kerala Story’ won’t be allowed to happen in Madhya Pradesh.
HuT is a radical Islamic group banned in 16 nations, including China, Germany, Russia, Bangladesh and Turkey. The outfit’s aim is re-establishment of the Islamic caliphate to unite Muslims and implement the Sharia globally.
Sixteen men allegedly associated with the outfit were arrested by the ATS from Bhopal, Chhindwara and Hyderabad with the Telangana Police’s help on May 9. They are in ATS remand till May 19.