BJP minister’s false claims stirred expulsion of Muslims - IAMC

BJP minister’s false claims triggered anti-Muslim hate in Uttarakhand, say rights groups

In an open letter to Indian President Droupadi Murmu, 200 rights groups from across the country criticized the role of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Uttarakhand’s Chief Minister in the escalating harassment of Muslims across the state. 

“On April 7, the chief minister of Uttarakhand publicly claimed, with no evidence, that the state is facing the threat of ‘land jihad,’” the letter stated. “On the basis of this communal claim, the state administration then formed a committee in every district and began demolishing hundreds of religious sites in addition to the homes of common people. Decades-old or hundred-year-old religious sites, especially Mazars (Sufi shrines), were demolished without any legal process.” 

The letter also stated that hate speech and mob violence had increased in the state.

Hindu extremists in Uttarakhand have called strikes in four towns demanding the expulsion of Muslim residents. Hindu extremists have also marked Muslim-owned shops with black cross marks, as a sign of boycott. On May 28th, 42 Muslim families fled from Purola city due to tensions, while nine landlords issued eviction notices to Muslim tenants. 

Hindu extremists want to shut down Muslim-owned shops near temple in Uttar Pradesh

A Hindu extremist group in BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh has demanded the shutdown of all Muslim-owned shops near a temple in the Shahjahanpur district.

The Hindu extremist group Karni Sena had previously prevented Muslims from selling “prasad” (a Hindu devotional offering) outside the temple. Now, they have demanded the “removal of all shops owned by Muslims from the vicinity.”

Hindu extremist leader Omveer Singh Rathore made frivolous false claims against Muslims, saying, “We cannot allow people of other faiths to sell ‘prasad’ and related items outside our temple. They may add something to it. We see many things on social media that people spit on food before selling them to the customers.”

The demand is similar to Karnataka state’s ban on Muslim vendors in “Hindu areas,” including areas around temples. 

School in BJP-controlled Kashmir bans students from wearing abaya, sparking outrage

Outrage has erupted after the principal of a school in Kashmir prevented female students from  entering their classrooms while wearing abaya —a loose-fitting full-length robe worn by some Muslim women— in a move that is reminiscent of Karnataka state’s unconstitutional ban on hijabs in colleges. 

“You wear ‘Abaya’ and pollute the environment of the school, you are scandalous and are ruining the name of your parents too,” the principal of Vishwa Bharati Higher Secondary School (VBHSS) School reportedly told students. 

“We have been asked to remove the burqa and enter the school premises. When we objected to the order, they told us we must go to a Madrassa instead,” said one student.

The move triggered widespread backlash from politicians and activists alike, leading the school principal, Meemroze Shafi, to apologize after leaders from across the political spectrum condemned the attempt to control women’s freedom of choice. 

“The conversation with the students and the parents has been misrepresented and, in any case, if it has hurt their sentiments… I unconditionally apologize,” Shafi said.