The 16 persons arrested for their suspected links with Hizb-ut-Tahrir (HuT), a radical outfit, are a motley group of individuals including a professor and a gym trainer among others who were prima facie involved in love-jihad and religious conversions, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra claimed on Monday.

He said three major actions had been taken in the last few months during which persons linked with Jamaat-ul-Mujahideen Bangladesh (JMB), Popular Front of India, and HuT were arrested.

“The MP Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) arrested 22 persons linked with Popular Front of India (PFI) from Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain and Neemuch, while 16 persons linked with Hizb-Ut-Tahrir were held including ten from Bhopal, one from Chhindwara and five from Hyderabad,” Mishra, who is the state government spokesperson, told reporters.

Queried on the HuT network and the role of the arrested persons, he said the investigation revealed so far that seven persons have converted to Islam.

“Surprisingly, these persons involved in brainwashing are not normal ones. One of them is a professor, another is a gym trainer, while a third runs a coaching class…one of them is a software engineer and another is a software technician. Such types of people are involved in love jihad. They brainwash Hindu girls into marrying them. First Hindu men convert to Islam and later these girls are also converted,” the minister said.

“Love jihad” is a term often used by right-wing activists to allege a ploy by Muslim men to lure Hindu women into religious conversion through marriage.

Mishra said the state police will act as a “pesticide against jehadi cockroaches and will eliminate them after tracing them”.

He said such conspiracies will not be allowed to succeed in Madhya Pradesh.

Mishra questioned the double standards of those people who he said are raising their voices against “The Kerala Story” but remain silent about HuT, PFI, terrorism and religious conversion.

“This exposed their dual policies and the policy of appeasement,” he added.