Kochi: Arshi Qureshi, who was arrested for suspected IS links from Mumbai last week, has told the Kerala police that he converted over 700 people including Malayalis, but the cops are now probing whether there was any element of coercion or influence behind such conversions.
Top police officials continued to quiz Qureshi and his aide Rizwan Khan at the Kalamassery AR camp on Tuesday. According to sources, the religious scholar said the conversions took place at the Mumbai-based Islamic Research Foundation where he was holding the post of Guest Relations Officer.
It was Rizwan, who was running a marriage-bureau based in Kalyan in Mumbai, who helped process the documents related with the conversions. “The duo said there were many from Kerala and Tamil Nadu who approached them for conversion and that they visited the state many times earlier. We are probing whether the conversions were done forcefully or by any other means of influence,” sources said.
Meanwhile, the police slapped UAPA charges on one Abdul Rasheed, a native of Kasargode, who is believed to be in constant touch with Qureshi and suspected to be behind many people from the state going missing
At present, the police is probing the missing cases in connection with 21 people who are suspected to have converted at the Mumbai-based research foundation which is run by one Zakir Naik.
The Kochi city police had registered a case under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act against Qureshi along with Palakkad-native Yahiya alias Bestin Vincent.
This after Ebin Jacob, 25, brother of Merin who is missing along with her husband Yahia, gave a statement before the police that the duo forced him to get converted to Islam and join the terrorist organisation IS.