Zakir Naik’s Influence leads Mumbai girl to embrace Islam
Posted by jagoindia on May 4, 2008
See bottom for suggested readings on Zaikir Naik
Mumbai girl harassed for conversion
4 May 2008, 0313 hrs IST,TNN
MUMBAI: A 21-year-old girl from Malwani who decided to convert to Islam has alleged to the State Minorities’ Commission that the local police gave her a tough time for her decision.
Sarah Sawant was so swayed by a conference addressed by hardliner Dr Zakir Naik in November last year that she decided to take up Islamic studies and become a cleric. Anticipating trouble from her parents after she decided to turn Muslim, Sawant on April 27 filed an application with the Malwani police, stating that there was no pressure on her from anyone—she was converting of her own accord and would live separately from her family.
“After I submitted my application, investigating officer Vikas Lokre told me it would take at least 10 days for it to come into force,” Sawant told TOI. “The next day, I had to go to the police station to get my statement recorded. When I went in the morning, I was asked to come back in the evening. After reaching the police station at 6 pm, I was asked to wait till 7.30 pm since Lokre had not arrived. During this time, I was made to sit on the floor of the ladies’ room like a criminal. A woman constable even said that if the formalities were going to take time, I would be locked up inside the ladies’ room for the night, since she had to leave for patrolling duty.”
Sawant said that after officers recorded her statement, they summoned her parents to the police station. “My family started verbally abusing and slapping me but the police did not do anything to stop them,” she said.
According to Sawant, the police kept insisting that she submit her present address in writing. “I had been receiving threat calls from my family. Even a male friend who helped me move into a new place was being harassed by my family members, one of whom is in the police force. I had given the police a Hyderabad address where I intended to study. But they found out that I hadn’t moved to Hyderabad yet and then started pressurising me to submit my Mumbai address,” she said.
When contacted, senior inspector Jaywant Hargude of the Malwani police station denied that Sawant had been harassed by the cops in any way. “Sawant’s parents had written to the crime branch, concerned about her safety.
We summoned them to the police station so that they could have a face-to-face discussion with their daughter and she could explain to them her decision of converting to another faith and moving out to a new place. She was not beaten inside the police station. In fact, our officers even escorted her till Malad in an auto afterwards. We were only asking her to submit her address, so that we would know where to contact her if any inquiries were to be made in future,” Hargude said.
Abraham Mathai, vice-chairman of the State Minorities Commission said, “The Indian Constitution gives every citizen the liberty to choose and profess any faith persuasion of his/her choice, once he/she is a major. Any interference would be an infringement of constitutional rights.” END.