2022: A year of Othering & Violence for Religious Minorities in India ( CJP )

Over the past year, a culture of impunity against state and non-state actors has allowed for perpetual instances of vulnerability, leading to physical attacks, especially for the Muslim and Christian minorities

Through the year 2022, we recorded instances of hate crimes, hate speeches, discrimination, as well as assaults on the life and liberty of Indians belonging to religious minorities. Perpetrators were either “members of an unnamed mob belonging to the majority community”, or, equally and often identified with organisations affiliated with supremacist Hindutva.

Such incidents were reported from various parts of the country: a visible trend in all these incidents is that religion atrocities are often state sanctioned, and perpetuated amidst a prevalent culture of impunity. A calculated silence from senior elected officials and those in government has influenced law enforcement to delay or deter the accountability and justice process: delayed filing of FIRs (criminal complaints that launch an investigation), a passivity in the face of intimidatory rape and genocide threats to actually allowing the quick release of perpetrators, and their felicitation, in the rare situations of arrest. To witness such brutal and demoralising incidents, committed against innocents, should shock the conscience of all Indians.In this piece that wraps up 2022, we review some of the most horrifying incidents of atrocities committed in 2022 against religious minorities- Muslims, Christians, and Sikhs.

Attack on life and property

Uttar Pradesh: Hindutva goons force Muslim man to shut shop named after Sai Baba

On January 5, a 15-year-old juice shop called ‘New Sai Juice Centre’, and its Muslim owner, Shabbu Khan, were attacked by a Hindutva group in the Majhola area of Uttar Pradesh’s Moradabad district. The shop was vandalised and forcefully shut down by the mob who claimed allegiance to the Bajrang Dal. The goons had claimed that “Sai Baba is a Hindu deity” and the Muslim owner should change its name. They also allegedly threatened to shut all shops run by Muslims and named after Hindu deities in the locality. While this attack took place over a week ago, the FIR was reportedly registered much later, only after videos of the incident began circulating on social media. It was also reported that even the police “advised” Khan to change the shop’s name “to avoid further trouble.”

Rajasthan: Right-wing extremists attack Muslim man and non-Muslim woman for travelling together

On January 14, some Bajrang Dal men reportedly targeted a Muslim man and non-Muslim woman travelling together, in a bid to prevent what they see as a case of “Love Jihad”. The man and woman were travelling in a train when Bajrang Dal men verbally and physically abused the man and forced them to deboard; their families were called to verify consent for travelling together. No case was filed against the Bajrang Dal men.

Karnataka: Muslim man killed after Hindutva hate speech

Sameer (19) and Shamseer (21) from Nargund in Karnataka’s Gadag district were brutally attacked, allegedly by the members of the RSSon January 18. The attack took place in Karnataka’s Gadag district, allegedly soon after a Bajrang Dal event where Sanjay Nalwad reportedly instigated anti-Muslim hate. Nalwad told the gathering that Bajrang Dal would ‘protect’ them, and that even the police ‘were with us’. A day later, Sameer died of injuries sustained in a targeted attack.

Ghaziabad: Police beat up Muslim women protesters, claim ‘scuffle’

A group of Muslim women were thrashed in a public place in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh on February 13. The video of the violence went viral and the police claimed the outrage, that there was an altercation or scuffle between the two. However, the clip that has gone viral shows Uttar Pradesh police personnel brutally hitting Muslim women who were reportedly a part of a protest against the “hijab ban” in colleges that started in Karnataka.

Karnataka: 20 injured in violence during Bajrang Dal member’s funeral

On the night of February 20, a Bajrang Dal member Harsha was allegedly stabbed to death at the Ravi Varma lane in Bharathi colony in Shivamogga town. Shortly after, viral videos showed how his supporters had become violent on streets, pelting stones and demanding justice for the man. The State Rural Development Minister KS Eshwarappa had also alleged the role of “Muslims goons” in the killing, even though the police had not confirmed the cause of death. Videos of burning vehicles and attacks on Muslim residential areas went viral on social media post the funeral.

Bihar: Muslim man allegedly lynched by cow vigilantes

On February 23, a video was uploaded wherein the victim, Mohammad Khaleel Alam, was heard pleading for his life as he is questioned rather than accused of eating beef by a hindutva lynch mob. Mohammad Khaleel Alam, was a Janata Dal (United) party member from Samastipur district. The assailants, heard in the video footage, are heard forcing the victim to tell them where “cows are slaughtered” and name the people involved.  The Hindutva lynch mob later murdered Alam, and burnt his body in Samastipur, Bihar, a few days later.

Assam: Bajrang Dal assaults Muslim family publicly

Robijul Ali Barbhuiyan, a retired school teacher, was out with his wife, daughter and granddaughter, when goons from the Bajrang Dal surrounded their vehicle on Trunk Road, near the All India Radio station, Silchar and pelted stones at them on February 23. The attackers reportedly pulled Barbhuiyan’s beard and called him a ‘Baangaal’ (a slur used for people of alleged Bangladeshi descent). This clearly indicated that he was targeted and attacked due to his Muslim identity.

Jharkhand: Youths attack Class 9 student for not chanting Jai Shri Ram

On March 23, around 5-6 students, enamoured by right-wing extremist ideology, allegedly assaulted a Class 9 Muslim student in Jharkhand’s Jamshedpur because the latter refused to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’. According to a video shared, student Altamash Hussain was shown a video of UP CM Yogi Adityanath before the attack.  The attacking group attempted to choke and beat him before Hussain’s friends came to his rescue.

UP: Muslim man lynched by neighbours for chanting ‘Jai Shri Ram’ 

On March 28, a Muslim man, identified as Babur, was allegedly killed by his neighbours who were angry that he was a supporter of the BJP. A resident of Kushinagar district of Uttar Pradesh, he was reportedly “distributing sweets” to celebrate BJP’s poll win when he was attacked. According to media reports, Babur was returning from his shop, and chanted ‘Jai Shri Ram’ which allegedly made his neighbours angry. They then allegedly thrashed Babur. Babur’s wife Fatima told the police that her husband “ran to the roof of his house to save his life” but the accused people followed him and threw him off it.

Tripura: Muslim man lynched on suspicion of cattle theft

On March 29, in Tripura’s Sepahijala district, a 26-year-old Muslim man was lynched by a mob that suspected him of being “a cattle thief”. The victim was identified as Litan Miah. According to the media reports, by the time the police reached the place where the villagers had detained the man, he was already reportedly critically injured after being thrashed”. The attackers told the police that they suspected the man was a cattle thief.

Rajasthan: communal violence leaves people from both sides injured in Karauli city

On April 2, a bike rally was taken out by VHP, the RSS and the Bajrang Dal in Karauli city of Rajasthan on the occasion of Nav Samvatsar. When the said rally reached the minority-dominated area, some participants raised provoking slogans and stone pelting from nearby houses reportedly began. Slogans such as ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Topi wala bhi Jai Shri Ram bolega’ were raised, and songs “of Hindu organisations” were played. It was reported by the police that about 100-150 people from the colony attacked them with sticks, and eight policemen, 11 locals were injured. In the arson that ensued, properties of more than 80 people from both sides were damaged.

UP: Right-wing group vandalises vegetarian food cart run by Muslim vendor

BJP’s Sangeet Som, who was among the key accused in Muzaffarnagar 2013 riots, was defeated by Samajwadi Party’s Atul Pradhan in the Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections. After his loss, Hindutva mascot Som’s supporters have been acting out in various ways. On April 2, a mob, including those belonging to “Sangeet Som Sena”, was accused of vandalising the food cart of Mohd Sajid’s, a vegetarian biryani seller. According to media reports, these goons vandalisedMohd Sajid’s cart while he was selling the rice dish near a marketplace in Meerut. They reportedly asked him why he was selling biryani when it is “banned” during the nine days of Navratri. Sajid told them that it was a “veg soya biryani”, and they started vandalising the cart, stated news reports.

Karnataka: Muslim college student beaten and made to get off a private bus for traveling with a Hindu girl

On April 5, in an alleged case of moral policing, a group of men assaulted a Muslim man, who was travelling with a Hindu woman. The incident occurred near Nanthoor circle in Mangaluru. The couple were travelling in a bus from Karkala, when three to four unknown men stopped the bus, dragged the Muslim youth out of the vehicle and thrashed him. It was alleged that members of the Bajrang Dal were involved.

Karnataka: Muslim man beaten up for travelling with Hindu woman in autorickshaw

On April 5, Right-wing goons of Karnataka waylaid a Muslim man and his Hindu woman companion when the two were travelling in an auto-rickshaw. According to media reports, Nazeer was travelling with his friend Pooja in an auto-rickshaw that was waylaid near Siribagilu village on the Mangaluru-Bengaluru national highway. Once the goons realised that the two belonged to different religions, they allegedly hit Nazeer on his face and head. They also abused the couple.

West Bengal: BSF personnel forcibly strip search, physically assault Muslim daily wage worker

According to Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha, a Muslim daily wage worker was allegedly forcibly stripped naked by two women BSF officers in North 24 Parganas for unexplained reasons. On April 29, 2022, the 54-year-old woman on her way to a pond near International Border Pillar when the two officers stopped her. Dissatisfied with her statement that she was going for a bath, the worker was beaten with sticks and the constables took her to Outpost 12 for a full-body search. However, on reaching the place, the BSF constables ordered her to remove her clothes. When she refused, the two women verbally abused her, thrashed her back and forcibly removed all her clothes.

Madhya Pradesh: Disabled senior citizen ‘suspected of being Muslim’ thrashed, found dead

On May 21, a video was circulated on social media showing a differently-abled elderly person being brutally beaten in Madhya Pradesh’s Neemuch over suspicion of being a Muslim. “Are you Mohammed? Nikaalaadhaar card nikaal (Show your Aadhaar card…. Take it out it),” Dinesh Kushwaha was seen and heard while constantly slapping and assaulting the hapless man, later identified as 65-year-old Bhanwarlal Jain. The elderly Bhanwarlal Jain was later found dead. The elderly Jain was said to be mentally disabled and had memory problems.

Bengaluru: Police raid, tear down homes of Bengali Muslim migrants

Under the pretext of an ‘anti-Bangladeshi’ drive, Bengaluru (Rural) Police raided a settlement of Bengali Muslim migrants located in Sarjapura, Anugondanahalli and Hebbagodi police limits and destroyed their property on May 21. Since the police had no method of distinguishing a Bangladeshi from an Indian Bengali, authorities allegedly switched their focus on dwellings of Muslim migrants. Some even accused men police officers of frisking women.

Muslims fired at and lathi charged for protesting against Nupur Sharma’s comments

On June 11, Muslims protested to demand the arrest and punishment of suspended BJP leader Nupur Sharma for her comment on Prophet Muhammad. The police used lathis and fired at the protestors unjustly as the crowds protested peacefully. Reports of deaths and videos of innocent Muslims being shot at were seen from both states of Uttar Pradesh (UP) and Jharkhand.

UP: Cops electrocute Muslim youth, insert stick in his rectum, violate judicial precedents on torture

In June, an FIR was filed against 5 policeman from Badaun, Uttar Pradesh for brutally torturing a Muslim youth in his early 20s under the suspicion of cattle theft for the purpose of slaughter. The victim had been subjected to electric shocks and a stick was inserted in his rectum. According to the sister-in-law of the victim, on May 2, police picked up the victim and thrashed the victim the whole night. After realising that they had picked the wrong person, they handed him Rs 100 and sent him back after torturing him for two straight days. Since then, he had been getting seizures almost every day. When taken to the hospital, the doctors reportedly said that the patient was getting seizures regularly as his nervous system has been affected severely, possibly because of a shock.

UP: House of activist Afreen Fatima demolished

On June 12, the family home of activist Afreen Fatima was torn down in Allahabad, just a day after her family members were illegally detained by the Allahabad police. . Fatima was part of the nationwide protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), and the official reason given for demolishing her home is that it was allegedly an illegal construction, a claim rejected by the young activist.

On June 11, police illegally detained Afreen’s father Javed Mohammed, mother Parveen Fatima and younger sister Sumaiya Fatima. Afreen Fatima’s father is a Welfare Party of India leader, and police accused him of planning to carry out violent protests in wake of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Nupur Sharma’s objectionable comments about Prophet Mohammed. Now her house has been illegally demolished.

Hyderabad: Teenager assaulted for refusing to chant “Jai Shri Ram”

In Hyderabad’s old city area, a 17-year-old boy was thrashed when he refused to chant “Jai Shree Ram”. The incident took place on July 21 in the Charminar area.The boy hailed from the minority community. While he was going home, a group of miscreants had allegedly stopped the victim and applied Tilak on his forehead and forced him to chant ‘Jai Sri Ram’. When the boy refused to do so, he was allegedly beaten up as well. The boy was assaulted by as many as 40 people and at least 14 people were identified and taken into custody.

Kannauj: Muslim teen dies after being allegedly beaten by school teachers

A ninth standard student, identified as Dilshad alias Raj, a succumbed to his injuries after being beaten brutally allegedly by his school teachers in Kannauj, Uttar Pradesh. As reported by media, the incident took place on July 23 when the 15-year-old boy went to get admission to ninth standard at a school that also had a private intermediate college in the Ramlila Maidan area. At around 11 am, a teacher called him and accused him of stealing a watch. Thereafter, he was taken to the room and locked and beaten up along with fellow teachers following which he suffered injuries. The boy returned home and narrated his plight, and was subsequently admitted to the local hospital. Upon showing no improvement shifted to a private hospital in Kanpur on July 24, where he succumbed to his injuries at around 8 P.M on July 25.

Mathura: Cow vigilantes target Muslim family

On July 27, an armed mob allegedly attacked a Muslim family in the Mewati locality of Aurangabad in Mathura suspecting them of selling beef. The attackers hailed from a local cow vigilante group called Gau Raksha Dal. According to the narration provided by the neighbor of the victim, Villager Aas Mohammed, he heard screams at around 7:30 A.M and saw nearly 20-25 people carrying country made pistols were knocking on the door of his neighbourPappu Qureshi and then thrashed him and his family members. He further said that the mob also fired into the air, allegedly to create panic.

UP: SI subjects Muslim man to 3rd-degree torture in cow-slaughter case

On August 1, a police officer was suspended in Uttar Pradesh’s Muzaffarnagar for allegedly subjecting third-degree torture to a man who happened to be a distant relative of an accused. According to reports, R. Rana, the Sub-Inspector (SI) of Chhapar police station in Muzaffarnagar, went to Khampur village with a team to arrest an accused named Zishan Ansari, who was wanted in a case related to cow slaughter. He did not find the alleged accused and picked up his distant relative Farad Hakim, 40, a resident of the same village, where he subjected to third-degree torture by the SI.

Karnataka: Muslim man murder in retaliation of BJP worker’s murder

On August 1, Fazil, a resident of Mangalpete near Surathkal, was hacked to death by a group of men in the same way a BJP worker Praveen Nettaru was a few days prior. Karnataka Police investigating the murder case of Mohammad Fazil Mangalpet had reportedly arrested four persons. It was suspected that Fazil was killed by Hindu activists in retaliation to the murder of BJP Yuva Morcha member Praveen Kumar Nettare.

Karnataka: Headmaster heckled for holding essay competition on Prophet Mohammed

In the month of September, an essay competition was organised in government high school in Nagavi village in Karnataka on the topic of Prophet Mohammed, and a section of parents alleged that it was a way of the headmaster to religiously convert the children. On receiving the complaint, the group of Sri Ram Sene barged into school and heckled the headmaster in front of some 100 odd students. The matter has been raised with the state education department. The education department has ordered an inquiry into the incident.

Madhya Pradesh: Muslim family brutally assaulted

Wajid Ali was travelling with his parents, when reportedly a pre-dominantly Hindu mob stopped him, assaulted them all, dragged the man after tying him to the bike, tore the clothes of his mother. The incident happened on September 15 when a mob stopped him near Auria village. Amid religious slogans, Ali was allegedly dragged tied to a bike. The clothes of mother were torn apart & father was thrashed. Reportedly, the assault continued for an hour until Police saved them, said Ali.  In a video clip, Ali alleged that the family was attacked and thrashed owing to their faith. Ali and his family has allegedly led to little or no action from the local police.

Gujarat, MP: Navratri’s joyous Garba dance becomes a garb for exclusion

During September 29-30, the most violent and unlawful assault was reported from Ahmedabad, wherein a series of videos showing Bajrang Dal workers brutally assaulting, stripping, humiliating and thrashing four Muslim youths at a garba venue on Sindhu Bhavan Road went viral. In Madhya Pradesh too, after Madhya Pradesh’s home minister first raised ‘Love Jihad’ concerns on September 27, and the MP government asked Garba organisers to check ID cards at pandals to ‘prevent love jihad’, the Bajrang Dal got into action and apparently ‘caught eight Muslim youths’ at ‘garba’ venues in Indore on September 29.

Gujarat: Policeman seen beating up four other men in video

In the Undhela village, located in the Matar taluka of Kheda district in Gujarat, just a day after an incident of stone pelting was reported at a Garba event in the area, a video of the flogging went viral on social media on October 4, and in it a man in plainclothes with a gun holstered to his belt, can be seen using a lathi to beat at least four men, one by one. The flogged men then fold their hands appealing to a crowd that appears to be cheering the actions of the cops.  The publication reports that while the people flogged and arrested for disrupting the event were not identified, police confirmed that they all hailed from the Muslim community.

MP: Three homes raised after conflict over Garba Pandal, five more Muslim families served eviction notices

On October 4, the homes of three Muslims were razed to the ground by the Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district administration for not having “building permission.” Their homes were demolished within 24 hours of serving notice. Demolition orders were also served to five houses belonging to Muslim families. The demolitions took place over allegations of stone pelting at a Garba pandal during a tiff that broke out over rash driving by a 14-year-old boy.

MP: Houses of five alleged Muslim murder accused demolished

On October 26, the Madhya Pradesh government demolished a roadside eatery and homes of five Muslim men accused of murdering a 30-year-old man on Diwali night. The 5 were accused of murdering a Hindu and assaulting another. Angered over the death, locals blocked the Bhopal-Dewas Highway and demanded stern action against the accused. Members of the ruling BJP and the Opposition also supported the protestors. Hours later, a team from the municipal corporation demolished an illegal eatery alongside the Bhopal-Dewas Highway belonging to Sameer and the houses of all the accused.

Gujarat: VHP workers assault Muslim students for ‘luring’ Hindu girls in Surat

On or about November 24, 2022,a video clip surfaced showing a Muslim boy identifying himself as Raj Shaikh, resident of Bhestan confessing on camera that he was dating two to three Hindu girls simultaneously. Accusing a few minority community students of luring Hindu girls with false identities and exploiting them sexually, Bajrang Dal and VHP activists assaulted some Muslim students within the Bhagwan Mahavir University campus in Gujarat’s Surat.

Karnataka: Muslim couple attacked for going to the theatre to see movie “Kantara”

On December 9, a Muslim couple who went to watch Rishab Shetty’s film ‘Kantara’ in a Karnataka theatre was reportedly assaulted by a mob at Sullia in Dakshina Kannada district. According to reports, the couple was warned from entering the theatre, and when they did not budge, the group of men started beating the man up. The reason behind the attack on the Muslim couple is not known yet.

Karnataka: Bajrang Dal activists booked for waylaying a bus in which a Hindu-Muslim couple were travelling

On December 16, the Bantwal police suo motu registered a case against a group of Bajarang Dal activists for allegedly waylaying a private bus in which a man and woman from different faiths were travelling together in Karnataka’s Dakshina Kannada. According to police, the activists were tipped off about a woman from Hindu community travelling with a man from Muslim community in a bus bound to Bengaluru. The activists confronted the woman for travelling with a Muslim man. The woman retorted and questioned the activists’ conduct.

Maharashtra: Bahadur Shah Zafar’s portrait smashed by right-wing group

On December 21, a portrait of Bahadur Shah Zafar hung on the wall of a biryani outlet in Maharashtra’s Kolhapur city was smashed up by a group of young men belonging to a right-wing outfit, who termed the last Mughal emperor a “descendant of Aurangzeb.” No complaint was filed against anyone regarding the incident.

Karnataka: a Muslim shopkeeper murdered as an alleged hate crime driven by ‘moral policing’ by Hindutva outfits

On the evening of December 24, a 45-year-old man named Abdul Jaleel allegedly died from stab wounds at Katipalla, Mangaluru. He was at his shop in Katipalla when two persons allegedly attacked him around 8 pm on the day, a Saturday. He was immediately rushed to a hospital nearby, where he succumbed to injuries. Four people have been arrested by the police so far. Hindutva Supremacist groups indulging unchecked in moral policing of individuals are allegedly behind the attack: the speculation in the media is that Jaleel was killed as he was in relationship with a Hindu woman.

This story was originally published in cjp.org.in . Read the full story here

Related Articles