BJP-ruled Assam sets up additional prisons amid mass crackdown on Muslims
The Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Assam state is setting up additional prison facilities amid its massive crackdown on over 2,500 men, mostly Muslim, under the vague pretext of them indulging in “child marriages.”
Officials say that the temporary jails will be used after the existing prisons run out of space. A transit camp for undocumented immigrants and persons declared as “foreigners” is also being used as a prison.
The massive crackdown has come in for severe criticism from legal luminaries, political leaders, and social media users who believe that it is part of the Hindu supremacist government’s larger motive to demonize and harass Muslims.
Slamming the move, Asaduddin Owaisi, a prominent Muslim leader, said there was a “malicious motive behind all the action that is being taken.”
Hundreds of women in Assam state have been protesting against the arrests of their family members.
Despite the outrage, Chief Minister Himanata Biswa Sarma, who has a track record of ordering crackdowns against Muslims in Assam, vowed to continue the unjust arrests.
Guns offered for sale in Hindu extremists’ Facebook groups in India
Hindu extremists have been caught offering handguns, rifles, shotguns, and bullets for sale in a Facebook group devoted to one of India’s largest and most violent Hindu supremacist organizations, the Bajrang Dal.
In 2018, the Bajrang Dal was deemed a militant organization by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. Its members have been documented as taking part in violent riots, mob lynchings, and other hate crimes.
Eight posts offering to sell weapons, some of which had been up since April, were discovered by journalist Raqib Hameed Naik. He began reporting them to Facebook’s parent company Meta for violating the policy that forbids selling firearms or ammunition on Facebook platforms.
Despite the clear violation of policy and the known violent history of the Bajrang Dal, Facebook refused to remove the posts, saying the posts didn’t violate the company’s rules. The platform did not take down the posts until the Wall Street Journal began investigating.
Meta has faced criticism from human rights groups that it fails to crack down on hate speech and encouragement of violence in India, its biggest market, where more than 300 million people use Facebook and more than 400 million people are on its WhatsApp messaging service.
Whistleblower Francis Haugen, who in 2021 exposed Facebook’s algorithm for knowingly promoting hate speech, has listed India as one of several countries where disturbingly high amounts of hateful content are posted and shared regularly on Facebook platforms.
Jail authorities threaten life of Muslim man jailed in Delhi anti-Muslim pogrom case
A Muslim man, Shahrukh Pathan, who has been imprisoned since March 2020, was slapped and given death threats by the Assistant Jail Superintendent.
“Assistant Jail Superintendent by the name of Rajesh Dahiya slapped the applicant on his face and started threatening and abusing Pathan with dire consequences,” Pathan’s counsel has submitted in court.
According to the counsel, Dahiya threatened to kill Pathan before his trial concludes. The threats were made in the presence of all the other jail officials and recorded on camera.
Pathan is an accused in various cases relating to an incident wherein he was captured pointing a gun in self-defense towards the police and armed Hindu extremist mobs, who were attacking Muslims during a violent pogrom in Delhi in 2020. The pictures of Pathan had gone viral on social media.
Pathan’s advocate Khalid Akhtar holds that he was incarcerated on false and aggravated charges merely to make him the scapegoat of the anti-Muslim violence in Delhi and protect the Hindu extremist mobs who were responsible for the majority of the killings.