Conversion racket busted; 17 Dalit children rescued

HYDERABAD: In a major expose, the city police on Sunday busted a racket converting orphans and children belonging to poor families. Seventeen children, including seven girls, allegedly converted from Hinduism to Islam were rescued. The rescued children were between 4 to 15 years of age and hailed from remote villages across the State.

The racket was being run from the premises of the Peace Education Society in Maruthi Nagar, Malkajgiri. Officials claimed the organisers had been shifting their base frequently to avoid police vigil. It was started in Warangal and then shifted to LB Nagar and again to the current location.

The illegal conversions came to light after officials of the District Child Protection Unit raided the premises based on a complaint lodged with the Malkajgiri police on Sunday. A team led by Malkajgiri ACP G Sundeep found the school was not recognised by the government. Police claim records to have shown that the children were converted and preached about Islam. The prime accused Mohammed Siddiqui alias Satyanarayana was also running a hostel for children.

“The accused lured parents promising free education and accommodation for their children,” said ACP Sundeep. “All the children belong to SC/ST communities and hail from villages in Bhadrachalam, Mahabubnagar and Suryapet districts.”

According to officials, Satyanarayana is from Rajahmundry in Andhra Pradesh. “He converted to Islam sometime around 2003-04 and established the Peace Society in Warangal along with a few others. After running the school there for a few days, they shifted base to city to avoid police vigil,” added Sundeep.

The illegal society moved to Maruthi Nagar only about 16 days ago. “The children were being taught Arabic, Urdu and Quran. Though the agenda of the accused was to lure as many children as possible and convert them to Islam, they did not change their caste. They wanted the children to avail the benefits of reservation and then push them into government jobs,” he added.

Others who have been arrested include Motakothula Praveen alias Abdullah, Syed Abdullah, Mohammed Shakeel Ahmed, Mohammed Ismail, Abdullah alias Bathina Someshwar Rao, Sagar, Amer Mohammed Rabbani and Mohammed Fiazudddin. Another accused is absconding and efforts are on to trace him. All those nabbed have been remanded.

Accused booked under SC/ST Act

The nine accused have been booked under sections 153 A, 363 and 342 of IPC, and also under relevant sections of SC & ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, by the Malkajgiri police.

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