By S Neeraj Krishna
A 54-year-old man in Birmingham has been charged with assaulting children while performing circumcisions.
Mohammad Siddiqui of Hockley faced 34 charges, including ill-treatment, neglect, causing unnecessary suffering or injury, and actual bodily harm.
The former NHS doctor was also accused of administering “a prescription only medicine, when not an appropriate practitioner”, a Hampshire police spokesperson said.
Siddiqui had been arrested as part of a “large investigation” based on alleged offences related to conducting circumcisions at private residences between 2015 and 2018.
The alleged “criminal actions” reportedly involved boys in Birmingham, Walsall, Coventry, West Bromwich, Worcester, Reading, Banbury, Oxford, Southampton, Portsmouth, London, East Grinstead, Christchurch, and Swindon.
“This investigation is related to an individual’s possible criminal actions whilst undertaking circumcision procedures, and is not concerned with the practice of circumcision itself,” said an officer.
In 2018, the Hampshire Constabulary had launched a probe — “Operation Jetson” — into allegations against Siddiqui.
According to the force, Siddiqui had been arrested in July 2018 on “suspicion of grievous bodily harm”.
The Muslim Council of Southampton also backed the police “to bring to the attention of and to raise awareness among the Muslim and other communities who practice male circumcision” about his activities.
Siddiqui had worked as a clinical fellow (paediatric surgery) at the University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust between June 2012 and November 2013.
He reportedly operated a mobile children’s circumcision service outside the NHS at that time and carried out circumcisions at private residences.
“He faced 47 allegations when he operated on male children outside work hours between June 2012 and November 2013,” joint statement from the police and MCS had noted.
“He was suspended from his post, stopped carrying out the procedures and resigned from the NHS and surrendered his GMC registration.
“He then continued to provide a poor and dangerous practice without registering with the Care Quality Commission and without any indemnity insurance for his private work.”
In 2015, the Daily Echo reported that Siddiqui had been “struck off for carrying out circumcisions under unhygienic conditions which had left children ‘writhing in agony’”.
Subsequent investigations led to his arrest and legal proceedings. Siddiqui, who was released on bail, will appear at the Westminster Magistrates’ Court on November 6.