Supreme Court Asks UP ATS If Further Custody Of Man Accused Of 'Waging War Against India' Through Mass Conversions Is Necessary

Update: 2023-02-08 09:10 GMT

The Supreme Court on Wednesday asked the Uttar Pradesh Anti Terrorism Squad whether it was necessary to continue the custody of Irfan Shaikh who has been arrested over allegations of illegally converting persons to Islam.

Shaikh, a Central Government employee, is facing charges for conspiracy to wage war against India (Section 121A IPC) and offences under the UP Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Act.

A bench comprising Justices Aniruddha Bose and Sudhanshu Dhulia asked the UP ATS if it was necessary to continue his custody considering that the agency has been having his custody for over a year. Shiakh has approached the Supreme Court after the Allahabad High Court refused him bail.

Appearing for the accused, Senior Advocate Nitya Ramakrishnan submitted, “It’s not that conversion is banned. The UP law does not apply here. That person who has converted was inclined towards Islam on his own accord. Their statements are there. The marriage happened in Delhi. They willingly converted. I was only an interpreter.”

She further submitted, “They have put 121A against me. What is the waging of war in this? They brought somebody’s else’s bank account and held against me.”

Additional Solicitor General KM Nataraj, appearing for the State, submitted before the court that the trial in the matter had commenced and that it would be concluded at the earliest. “This issue has serious impact across the state. By misusing his position of a government servant, he used the sign language to allure innocent people. Foreign funds have also been received. There is an entire syndicate", he added.

"How do you connect his role?”, the bench asked the ASG.

Ramakrishnan also intervened at this point and said, “how is waging war even involved? How do you add 121A?” 

"How is 121A made out?", the bench asked the ASG.

Natraj showed the supplementary charge sheet to the bench and submitted, “the trial has begun. Your lordships can order to conclude it in 3 or 6 months. This has a serious impact on the society. This has an impact on the secular fabric of our country. This is a syndicate. He has converted 450 people. Foreign funds is involved. He is the interpreter. He gets involved with deaf and dumb people.”

Ramakrishnan again intervened and said, “it is not even their case in their counter that he converted all these people.”

Natraj pointed out, “he says to his victims that he is doing so on behalf of the government. This is how he projects.”

“Already you had him for more than a year", the bench pointed out to the ASG and asked, "In all your usual fairness say, do you really require him?"

ASG sought two weeks time to respond. The matter was accordingly adjourned to February 2022.  

According to the chargesheet, UP police A.T.S. got a piece of information that some anti-national/anti-social elements and religious organizations, on the dictate of ISI and foreign organizations, have indulged in getting the peoples converted in Islam by getting funds from foreign countries for this purpose.

During the investigation, one Umar Gautam was arrested for allegedly running a conversion racket. Irfan Shaikh (appellant), who was working as an Interpreter in Sign Language Training and Research Centre, New Delhi, was alleged to be a vital link of this syndicate.

A charge sheet was filed against Shaikh under Sections 120B, 121A, 123, 153A, 153B, 295A, 298, 417 I.P.C. and Section 3/5/8 U.P. Prohibition of Unlawful Conversion of Religion Ordinance, (Act).


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