India: Surge in Summary Punishments of Muslims (HRW.ORG)

Discriminatory Demolitions of Property, Public Flogging

A bulldozer demolishes a shop entrance in Jahangirpuri, in New Delhi, India, April 20, 2022. © 2022 REUTERS/ Anushree Fadnavis

(New York) – The authorities in India are increasingly using summary and abusive punishments against Muslims deemed to have broken the law, Human Rights Watch said today. In several states ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the authorities have demolished Muslim homes and properties without legal authorization, and most recently, publicly flogged Muslim men accused of disrupting a Hindu festival.

“The authorities in several Indian states are carrying out violence against Muslims as a kind of summary punishment,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “Officials blatantly disregarding the rule of law are sending a message to the public that Muslims can be discriminated against and attacked.”

On October 4, 2022, in Kheda district, Gujarat state, police arrested 13 people for allegedly throwing stones at a “garba” ceremonial dance during a Hindu festival. A police officer in civilian clothes wearing a gun holster was filmed publicly flogging several Muslim men with sticks while other officials held the men against an electricity pole. In videos shown and even praised on some pro-government television news networks, several uniformed police officers watch the flogging and strike the accused with sticks, while a crowd of men and women cheer and applaud. The police ordered an inquiry only following social media criticism of the video recordings.

On October 2 in Mandsaur district, Madhya Pradesh state, police filed a case of attempted murder and rioting against 19 Muslim men accused of throwing stones at a garba event and detained seven of them. Two days later, without any legal authorization, the authorities demolished the homes of three of the men, claiming they were constructed illegally.

In April, the authorities in Khargone district in Madhya Pradesh state, Anand and Sabarkantha districts in Gujarat state, and Jahangirpuri neighborhood in Delhi responded to communal clashes by summarily demolishing property, most of it owned by Muslims. The clashes occurred after religious processions of armed Hindu men passed through Muslim localities during Hindu festivals. The men shouted anti-Muslim slogans in front of mosques while the police failed to take any action.

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

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