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Sunday December 04, 2022

India sees surge in summary punishments of Muslims: HRW

Report by Human Rights Watch has shown that India is "increasingly using abusive punishments against Muslims"

By Web Desk
October 07, 2022
Protesters from various organisations take part in a demonstration in New Delhi, India. —AFP
Protesters from various organisations take part in a demonstration in New Delhi, India. —AFP

A report by Human Rights Watch has shown that India is "increasingly using abusive punishments against Muslims".

States that are ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have witnessed Islamophobic crimes like the demolishing of Muslim homes without legal authorisation and recently, a public beating of Muslim men.

Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch noted that authorities in different Indian states were "carrying out violence" where officials were neglecting and disrespecting the rules of law.

"...(they) are sending a message to the public that Muslims can be discriminated against and attacked," she said.

Recently on October 4, in India's Gujarat, nine men were flogged in public by policemen for allegedly disrupting an ongoing Hindu festival. Videos showed men tied to electric poles. The crowd cheered and the uniformed police officers did not intervene.

According to HRW, some pro-government media outlets even appreciated the act.

Before that, on October 2, in the country's Madhya Pradesh state, three Muslim houses were demolished without any legal authorisation. The homes belonged to men who were accused of throwing stones at a Garba event. Seven other Muslims were detained.

Several clashes are being witnessed by the world where Hindu mobs would shout anti-Muslim slogans in front of mosques and the police would not take any action.

In fact, authorities have mostly tried to justify the demolitions, noted the HRW report. 

At least 16 houses and 29 shops have been razed in MP alone. 

“Finding out culprits one by one is a time-taking process, so we looked at all the areas where rioting took place and demolished all the illegal constructions to teach rioters a lesson,"  said the district collector, a local administrator.

There have been more demolitions in other states and districts. Not long ago, in June, the country saw widespread protests by Muslims after a BJP politician passed blasphemous remarks about the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).

It said the world has taken notice of these human rights violations. In June, India received letters from three UN  special rapporteurs who expressed their concern over the matter.

Indian authorities have violated several laws. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which India is a part, ensures the protection of state laws. 

“Indian authorities are increasingly acting as if summary punishment has become a state policy,” Ganguly said. 

“If the Indian government does not take immediate action to roll back discriminatory laws, policies, and actions targeting minorities, rule of law will be replaced by bulldozers and sticks.”