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Brutality against Indian Muslims sends shockwaves through foreign media

“In a cruel sequence of events emblematic of the discrimination plaguing India’s religious minorities, Islamophobic comments made by officials of a right-wing Hindu nationalist party led to the arrest of a Muslim politician and social worker, followed by the demolition of his home. The destruction was wrought by a bulldozer, an emerging symbol of the crushing might of a state shattering the rights of Muslims in a Hindu-majority nation.”

Brutal clampdown by some states’ administration against Muslims has caught attention of foreign media. They are keeping close watch on the recent crackdown against Muslims in India following protests against offensive comments on Prophet Mohammed by the now-sacked BJP leaders.

BBC: “Nupur Sharma protests: The police brutality video that shocked India”

Yesterday, BBC carried a story entitled, “Nupur Sharma protests: The police brutality video that shocked India”, in which it mentioned the video showing Indian police beating a group of Muslims in custody. The story noted that no action has been taken against the officers involved although the families of those who were attacked say their loved ones are innocent and should be freed. It pointed out that according to the family, Saif one of the youth who was beaten black and blue by the police, wasn’t even at the protests and is innocent.

The story adds, “The video, which clearly shows police brutality, went viral after it was shared by an elected official from the BJP, Shalabh Tripathi, who posted it with the caption, “a return gift for the rebels”.” It laments that there has been no condemnation of the footage from party officials, or anyone in the BJP government.

The article states, “Human rights groups say there’s been a growing climate of intolerance in India since the BJP swept to power in 2014, with a rise in hate speech and attacks targeting the country’s Muslim minority.”

“Human rights groups say there’s been a growing climate of intolerance in India since the BJP swept to power in 2014, with a rise in hate speech and attacks targeting the country’s Muslim minority.”

Family of Subhan, one of the youth who were beaten up by the police, says Subhan didn’t even go to the main mosque on Friday, let alone take part in the protests there.

The story also mentions bulldozer action asserting, “Across town from the police station, the force of the law has been displayed in other ways – bulldozers have destroyed parts of the homes of two Muslim men officials accuse of instigating violence.”

“Across town from the police station, the force of the law has been displayed in other ways – bulldozers have destroyed parts of the homes of two Muslim men officials accuse of instigating violence.”

Referring to Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s tweet, BBC observes that the orders to demolish illegally constructed properties belonging to those accused in recent protests have been endorsed at the highest level.

It adds, “And, in a tacit reference to Muslims who worship on Fridays, his media adviser Mrityunjay Kumar tweeted a photo of a bulldozer with the caption “After Friday, there is a Saturday.”

BBC also mentioned the petition filed by a group of India’s top legal experts, including former judges and pre-eminent lawyers, in Supreme Court over these latest instances of police beatings and the unwarranted use of bulldozers.

France 24: Bulldozers raze rights of India’s Muslims

Similarly France 24,  a French state-owned international news television network based in Paris carried an article entitled, ”‘We are homeless now’: Bulldozers raze rights of India’s Muslims”

It noted, “Indian authorities are in international damage control mode after controversial comments about the Prophet Mohammed by a senior ruling party official sparked a diplomatic spat. But inside the country, the home of a prominent Muslim family was demolished by the state in a display of majoritarian might against India’s largest minority community. “

, “Indian authorities are in international damage control mode after controversial comments about the Prophet Mohammed by a senior ruling party official sparked a diplomatic spat. But inside the country, the home of a prominent Muslim family was demolished by the state in a display of majoritarian might against India’s largest minority community. “

It quoted Umam, 30, hails from a prominent Muslim family in Prayagraj, as saying “It was all shattered within two hours. It was the only home we had. I watched it all live, the media was showing it live, they were helping the administration make the allegations. We are homeless now. Everything my Dad worked for was shattered in two hours. It was so painful, I don’t have words to explain.”

The article states, “In a cruel sequence of events emblematic of the discrimination plaguing India’s religious minorities, Islamophobic comments made by officials of a right-wing Hindu nationalist party led to the arrest of a Muslim politician and social worker, followed by the demolition of his home. The destruction was wrought by a bulldozer, an emerging symbol of the crushing might of a state shattering the rights of Muslims in a Hindu-majority nation.”

“In a cruel sequence of events emblematic of the discrimination plaguing India’s religious minorities, Islamophobic comments made by officials of a right-wing Hindu nationalist party led to the arrest of a Muslim politician and social worker, followed by the demolition of his home. The destruction was wrought by a bulldozer, an emerging symbol of the crushing might of a state shattering the rights of Muslims in a Hindu-majority nation.”

It further noted, “The official harassment of Muslims accused of crimes, followed by the demolition of their homes before the justice process can take its course, is a familiar pattern that has emerged in several Indian states and territories ruled by the BJP.” “It is a strategy, many experts say, conceived by a right-wing politician who has embraced the symbolism of the bulldozer for electoral gains in a country gripped by populist Hindu nationalism.” It added.

Recalling Shaheen Bagh protest, the article pointed out, “Meanwhile in the capital, New Delhi, a series of demolitions ripped several areas, including Shaheen Bagh, the site of a peaceful 2019 sit-in, when mostly women demonstrated against a citizenship amendment law discriminating against Muslims.

It quoted Seema Chisti – a leading journalist and co-author of the book “Note by Note: The India Story (1947-2017)” as saying, “While there are no provisions under Indian law to demolish the home of anyone accused of a crime, a pattern of “extrajudicial” justice has emerged, where “the political power is the judge, prosecutor, executioner and implementor of the law.”

Doubting the veracity of the state administration’s claim, the article quoted Gautam Bhatia, a scholar of Indian constitutional law as noting “the time period between the police declaring that it has identified the masterminds behind the violence, the municipality declaring that the buildings are illegal, and the actual demolition, is under twenty-four hours.” 

TRT World: “Bulldozer Raj: India’s display of brute force against its Muslim minorities”

TRT World, a Turkish public broadcaster international news channel also carries an article on bulldozer action by BJP ruled states in India with the title, “Bulldozer Raj: India’s display of brute force against its Muslim minorities”

The article highlights, “The extrajudicial use of bulldozers on the homes of Indian Muslims sends a clear message about who the law will and will not protect from the encroachment of the state.”

“The extrajudicial use of bulldozers on the homes of Indian Muslims sends a clear message about who the law will and will not protect from the encroachment of the state.”

While mentioning the suspension of BJP’s spokespersons after their comments denigrating the Prophet Muhammad that kicked off a major diplomatic storm with Muslim countries, the article noted, “Yet, while the government showed a contrite face to the world, there hasn’t been any alteration of their domestic policy towards Muslims. That much was clear from the brutal quelling of the protests that had broken out in several cities last week over the two BJP members’ derogatory remarks.”

It added, “The most chilling visuals of the police repression of Muslim protestors came from the state of Uttar Pradesh. Bulldozers were used to demolish the homes of those accused of organising the protests. This included the house of Afreen Fatima, a Muslim activist who had risen to prominence during the protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).”

The article recalls, “This was not the first time bulldozers had been used to raze the homes of Muslims in Uttar Pradesh, where this extra-constitutional method of instant punishment has become rampant. Yogi Adityanath, the ruling chief minister, made bulldozers a central motif in his re-election campaign earlier this year.”

It noted, “Of all the crackdown methods  frequently employed against Muslim civil society, demolition by bulldozer is perhaps the most egregious. At the bare minimum, there is not even the pretence of a legal process. Sometimes, demolition notices are given just one day prior to the act, leaving the respondent with little legal recourse. There is no law or criminal code under the Indian Constitution that permits the home demolition of a convict, let alone of a suspect.”

The article points out, “But the illegality of home demolitions is also its precise point. The message given to Muslims is that the Constitution or judiciary won’t come to their rescue no matter what action the state takes against them. It is another milestone in the dissolution of the de facto ‘semi-citizenship’ of Indian Muslims.”

Showing the dark face of godi media, the article states, “However, this pragmatic approach exists alongside mounting unease. On their television screens, Muslims see only an intensification of the usual anti-Muslim discourse. Most news channels hold daily debates in which a ‘Hindu side’ is pitted against a ‘Muslim side,’ wherein the anchor — as the purported voice of the people — gangs up against the ‘Muslim side.’ This kind of news debate format has been recently compared, by the Editors Guild of India, to the infamously genocidal radio channel Radio Rwanda.”

Finding contrast between police behaviour towards Hindus and Muslims, the article noted, “Meanwhile, Hindu right-wing vigilante violence and communal mobilisation have detached themselves from electoral cycles and now represent a permanent phenomenon. Recently, violence erupted in Jahangirpuri, in New Delhi, after Hindu right-wing groups marched aggressively in a Muslim locality shouting anti-Muslim slogans. In the aftermath, the state again demolished several homes in Jahangirpuri — the vast majority of them belonging to Muslims —  as a form of collective punishment for the unrest.”

It added, “Ordinary Muslims have been mostly silent in the face of these provocations: hate speech on television, Hindu right-wing demonstrations and violence, and attempts to change the nature of the Varanasi Mosque. But the anti-Prophet remarks broke the dam of Muslim patience. There was a feeling that this was the particular form of attack on their identity that they would not tolerate.”

“Ordinary Muslims have been mostly silent in the face of these provocations: hate speech on television, Hindu right-wing demonstrations and violence, and attempts to change the nature of the Varanasi Mosque. But the anti-Prophet remarks broke the dam of Muslim patience. There was a feeling that this was the particular form of attack on their identity that they would not tolerate.”

The article conclude, “The BJP has responded to Muslims with bulldozers — and the unambiguous message bulldozer asserts is that the ruling BJP considers Muslims not as citizens to be negotiated with, but rather as a group to be controlled and managed, using brute force when and wherever they deem it necessary.”

“The BJP has responded to Muslims with bulldozers — and the unambiguous message bulldozer asserts is that the ruling BJP considers Muslims not as citizens to be negotiated with, but rather as a group to be controlled and managed, using brute force when and wherever they deem it necessary.”

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