BJP Minister says government will end Muslim personal laws across the country
In yet another attempt to violate the religious freedom of minorities, a minister of the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has announced that the government will be implementing a “uniform civil code,” which will force one standard law on all communities rather than allow the courts of religious groups to process personal matters such as marriage, divorce, and inheritance.
Minister of State for Law and Justice S.P. Singh Baghel on Tuesday said that the implementation of a nationwide Uniform Civil Code (UCC) is on the right-wing BJP government’s agenda.
“UCC will be implemented one day. It should be implemented,” Baghel said.
The UCC has been a long-standing demand of India’s Hindu extremists, who have rejected the personal laws that India’s Muslims have been constitutionally allowed to observe and practice.
India’s current laws allow followers of different faiths to follow their own laws such as the Hindu Marriage Act, Indian Christian Marriages Act, and the Parsi Marriage and Divorce Act. Muslim personal laws are based on religious texts and are not codified.
Implementing the UCC is a violation of freedom of religion and an invasion of the private lives of citizens, particularly Muslims and Christians, who are already severely marginalized in India. Far from being a step towards progressiveness, the UCC is another avenue for Hindu supremacists to attack and prosecute Muslims and Christians for practicing their faith in their private lives.
Court slams police over shoddy charges in cases against Muslims in anti-Muslim pogrom
A Delhi court warned the prosecution over the framing of shoddy charges and slammed the police for producing irrelevant witnesses while hearing a case incriminating three Muslim men for mob violence that took place in Delhi in 2020.
One witness, Manoj Kumar, was present before the court. The counsel for one of the accused persons pointed out that Kumar’s complaint was not mentioned in the charges framed and that the wrong date of the incident was mentioned in the charges.
“After this incident, no more such mishappenings shall be taken leniently by this court and this would be the last warning for the prosecution to wake up,” the court said.
Hindu extremist mobs carried out days of mass violence against Muslims in February 2020, killing at least 35 Muslims, wounding hundreds, and rendering thousands homeless after burning down their properties. A civil society-led fact-finding team, headed by a former Supreme Court judge, concluded that the police and Hindu mobs had collaborated to carry out that violence.
Human rights bodies across the globe, including the UN Human Rights Commission, and Opposition parties in India condemned the arrests of Muslims by the officials and demanded a fair probe into the violence.
Two weeks after Muslim man lynched to death, main accused yet to be arrested
Two weeks after Hindu supremacists brutally beat a Muslim man to death in Bihar state over the victim’s romantic relationship with a Hindu woman, police have yet to arrest the main accused.
The accused are the woman’s family members, who murdered the victim, Nihal, after he and the woman eloped and got married. A complaint by the victim’s mother Shamim Khatoon names six accused persons besides the other 100 unknown accused.
Local media reports suggest that the girl’s father spread a rumor that Nehal was a sexual harasser and gathered people who beat him to death.
Nehal’s family say that the police did not reach the scene on time, even though repeated emergency calls were made by the victim on the day of the incident.
Three persons were arrested on November 13 for helping the accused to abscond.
In November 2018, the couple had eloped and got married in a court. Rather than accepting the marriage, the woman’s family judicially harassed Nihal by filing a police report against him, leading to his arrest and subsequent bail.
The lynching is the latest in a series of violent crimes committed against Muslim men for having relationships, real or perceived, with Hindu women. Hindu supremacists often accuse these men of “love jihad,” a conspiracy theory that claims Muslim men have an agenda to seduce Hindu women and forcibly convert them to Islam.