Saurabh alias Mohammad Salim was among the 16 people arrested last week in Bhopal and Was arrested from Hyderabad. The Madhya Pradesh Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) had nabbed the accused for their alleged involvement in planning terror attacks.
According to Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra, the arrested accused are a group of persons, including a professor and a gym trainer, who were prima facie involved in “love-jihad” and religious conversions.
Saurabh’s father, Ashok Raj Vaidya spoke to news agency ANI about his family and how he found that Saurabh had been lured into converting to Islam, and how he changed his name to Mohammed Salim.
Told my son to leave home: Mohd Salim’s father
Saurabh’s father Ashok Raj Vaidya said, In our family, we allow our children to choose their life partner from other religions and do not call it ‘conversion’. Ashok Raj Vaidya is an Ayurveda doctor.
When asked when he felt that Saurabh was converting to Islam, Vaidya said, “I saw Saurabh’s activities and arguments for the first time in 2011. He started distancing himself from our family functions and religious festivals. After some time, his wife also started wearing Islamic clothes. That’s when I tried to explain things to him.”
Vaidya said, “I asked Saurabh to leave our house.”
Furthermore, Vaidya said that he also reported the entire matter to the police. However, the police refused to take any action as they found that Saurabh had voluntarily converted to Islam.
Saurabh’s father said that a doctor Kamal used to be around Saurabh during his college days. He said, “Later, we came to know that Dr. Kamal was an agent of controversial Islamic preacher Zakir Naik and he was arrested. He taught Islamic prayer to my son.”
Vaidya said, “Saurabh used to watch Zakir Naik’s speeches on his computer. I also recovered many Islamic books from his room. Watching Syrian news on TV, Saurabh used to talk about Islam and why they were attacking Syrians.”
The terror suspect’s father said Saurabh also attended several Islamic events organized by “big personalities”. Vaidya had also written a letter to the Congress-led Center to ban the telecast of Zakir Naik’s speeches.
Speaking of his son’s arrest, Vaidya said that he believes Saurabh was not involved in any terrorist activities. However, he also said that if Saurabh did not leave Islam, his family would not allow Saurabh to come back to their home.
Saurabh’s Muslim friends never left him alone: Mother
Saurabh’s mother Vasanti Jain said that her grandchildren have started going to the madrassa. Speaking to ANI, she further said that Saurabh’s Muslim friends never left him alone and they were always milling around him.
Saurabh’s mother said, “I never confronted him because I was scared for my son’s life.”
He further disclosed that Saurabh had moved to a flat with his Muslim friends during the Covid pandemic. “He even invited me to stay with him, which I declined,” she added. When asked about her son’s arrest, Vasanti Jain said that she last spoke to Saurabh two days before his arrest.
“My daughter-in-law called me and said that I should not worry as Saurabh had gone to visit And so his phone was switched off, which raised doubts in my mind. Two days later, I saw the news of his arrest,” said the terror suspect’s mother. Vasanti Jain said, “He may be arrested, but I am sure that my son has never been involved in terrorism-related activities.”