Hyderabad: Ten people were arrested on Monday for allegedly converting children from poor families to Islam after luring them under the pretext of free food and education at an orphanage-cum-school in Hyderabad.
According to police, 17 children between the ages of four and 15, including seven girls, were rescued from Peace Orphan Home in Mouli Ali area after a complaint by the district child welfare officials.
“There was reliable input regarding conversion of Hindu kids to Islam. During the raids, it was established that in guise of an orphan home, the group was brainwashing minors and converting them to Islam,” an investigating official said.
Investigations revealed that the group lured children lure children from poor families, especially those from tribal areas in Bhadrachalam, Mahabubnagar, Khammam and Warangal, by assuring free education, food, and shelter.
Rachakonda police commissioner, Mahesh Bhagwat, said the orphanage was also illegal. “All members of the gang have been arrested and further investigations are on,” he said, adding that all the accused, including group leader Siddique, have been sent to judicial remand.
All the accused have been booked 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 and Juvenile Justice Act.
The Telangana wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party has demanded strict action by the government. “We are shocked with the expose of a conversion racket in Hyderabad. Is the government sleeping? This shows how groups actively pursue young minds and brainwash them”, party spokesperson Krishna Sagar Rao said.