Nine persons were arrested today for allegedly converting children from poor families in Telangana to Islam under the pretext of providing them free education, food and shelter here, the police said. Police rescued 17 children in age group of 4-15 years, including seven girls, from the premises of an unrecognised school in Moula Ali area on the complaint of the Child Welfare Committee. Out of the ten accused in the case, police arrested prime accused Mohammed Siddiqi alias Satyanarayana and eight others. “Siddiqi and eight others allegedly lured parents from interior areas of Bhadrachalam, Mahabubnagar, Khammam and Warangal districts of Telangana and made them believe that their children will get free education along with accommodation and food facilities,” Assistant Commissioner of Police (Malkajgiri Division) G Sandeep said. He said the accused converted the children to Islam and started imparting them Urdu and Arabic studies.
“They converted the children to Islam, but didn’t change their names. Their motive was to convert as many children as possible,” the officer said. During the investigation, police found that Siddqui and nine persons were indulged in religious conversion of the minors, mostly belonging to SC/ST communities. “As many as 17 children including seven girls, all in the age group of 4 to 15 years, were converted,” Sandeep said, adding that police have seized Islamic literature from the spot. The ACP said Siddiqui converted to Islam in 2003-2004 and started Peace Orphan Society in Warangal. He was running a school-cum-hostel in Hyderabad since the last year.
A case was registered against the accused persons under sections 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, 363 (kidnapping), 342 (wrongful confinement) of the IPC and relevant sections of the SC and ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act. Police are probing whether the accused received funding from abroad, the ACP added.