The recent arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, a senior Islamic scholar of Uttar Pradesh, has invited wide criticism from civil societies. The President of Jamaat-e-Islami Hind (JIH), Syed Sadatullah Husaini has called for the immediate release of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui.

In a statement to the media on September 23, the JIH President said: “The arrest of Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui is a matter of concern for all justice-loving citizens of the country. Jamaat-e-Islami Hind demands that the UP government withdraw all charges against Maulana, release him immediately and ensure that he is dealt with in a just manner. Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui is a respected personality not only among Muslims but also among non-Muslims. His arrest has caused great discomfort to a large section of society. The arrest of Maulana Siddiqui has once again raised many questions about the UP government. The arrest is also being seen as a malicious attempt to promote Hindu-Muslim hatred in the context of the upcoming elections in Uttar Pradesh.”

Mr. Husaini further said: “We would like to remind the government and the police that the practice and propagation of religion and faith is a fundamental, human and constitutional right of every citizen of this country. In the same way, our Constitution has given every citizen – the freedom of conscience to adopt whatever ideology or belief one chooses. Any attempt to curtail or restrict these freedoms would be callous and unconstitutional. It is the responsibility of all concerned citizens of the country to oppose these nefarious attempts. We also want to make it clear that changing one’s beliefs by force or by way of allurement is not only against the teachings of Islam but also against its basic tenets. Anyone who knows Islam cannot do that.”

The JIH Chief averred: “The reality of the allegations against Maulana can be understood in the context of various revered, respected but anti-establishment members of society being subjected to different types of accusations and harassment. The misuse of police and law enforcement agencies against political opponents is perilous for the future of our country. It seems that the UP government does not have any worthwhile performance to show to its electorate. That is why it is regularly taking steps to create sectarian divisions and tensions. Attempts to gain or maintain political power by spreading hatred in the society are detrimental to the entire state and the country as a whole”.

A group of students from Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) took out a protest march on the AMU campus on September 24 against the arrest of Maulana and demanded his release forthwith. AMU students gathered at ‘Bab-e-Syed’ gate of the university and reached Jama Masjid on the campus and offered Friday namaaz there before starting their protest march till ‘Bab-e-Syed’ gate to press for their demand. The students also raised slogans against Islamophobia. They read out charter of their demand addressed to the President and called for stopping the witch hunt of Muslim preachers, activists, Ulema, political and community leaders. “Students would not settle until Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui and activist Umar Gautam were released,” a student leader was reported as saying.

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