Christians in Uttar Pradesh seek action against Hindu supremacist groups
Christians in Uttar Pradesh state have sought action against Hindu supremacist groups misusing the state’s recently enacted anti-conversion law, which has been weaponized by Hindu groups to harass, assault, and persecute Muslims and Christians.
A group of 125 people submitted a memorandum to the state’s police and administration, highlighting a number of false conversion cases registered against Christians.
Dinanath Jaiswal, a local social activist, stated that the delegation “wants the government to scrap the anti-conversion law, as it is blatantly being misused to target poor people.”
“We narrated our hardship to the officials, who listened to us and agreed to look into our grievances,” Jaiswal added.
Under the anti-conversion law, Christian leaders say any Christian charity activity can be labeled by Hindu supremacists as “coercion carried out for conversion.”
“The allegation of religious conversion is totally false. We don’t convert anyone,” said a local Catholic leader. “We [Christians] are no less Indian. We are a peace-loving people and uphold the constitution and the laws of the land.”
According to data collected by United Christian Forum, a Christian rights group, after the law was enacted the number of violent incidents against Christians rose by nearly 75 percent, up to 486 hate crimes in 2021 from 279 in 2020.
Students, activists protest against BJP’s anti-Muslim policies in Assam
Over 400 people and activists in Delhi protested against anti-Muslim eviction and demolition policies adopted by the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Assam on Thursday.
Hate-filled propaganda against Muslims, the eviction of poor people, and the demolition of Islamic seminaries were some of the major issues raised during the protest. The protestors also submitted a memorandum to the Prime Minister’s office (PMO).
“[We] are anguished, disturbed and concerned by the majoritarian politics of the BJP government which is demonizing the over one crore Muslims of the state every day. The BJP leaders are not only spreading hatred on a daily basis but also abuse the Muslims in the media and social media,” said Taison Hussain, general secretary of the student advocacy group All BTC Minority Students’ Union (ABMSU).
The Assam government has evicted and rendered homeless over 4,449 families, mostly Muslims, since BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma became the state’s Chief Minister last year.
The protestors held that officials demolishing Islamic seminaries without following due process of law under the false pretext of “terror activities” is a violation of fundamental rights guaranteed by the Constitution of India.
“This arbitrary act of the government is politically motivated to create a fear psychosis among the Muslims,” said the ABMSU.
Supreme Court says Modi government’s charges against Muslim news channel “vague”
The Supreme Court indicated that the contents of the central government’s charges against Muslim-owned Malayalam language news channel MediaOne were “vague.”
The top court was hearing the pleas filed by the news channel, its Chief Editor, and the Kerala Union of Working Journalists, against the judgment of the Kerala High Court, which had upheld a telecast ban imposed on the channel, which is the only Muslim-owned news channel in India.
“See how vague [these charges are]… that is why the High Court said nothing detailed,” the court stated.
MediaOne has been the target of judicial harassment since January, when the Modi government’s Information & Broadcasting Ministry (I&B) ordered that the channel be shut down over “security concerns.”
After the government failed to specify what its concerns were, activists and opposition party leaders slammed the shut down, calling it a blatantly Islamophobic attack on free speech.
“For 6 weeks we are shut down simply because we are run by some members of the minority community,” said senior advocate Dushyant Dave, addressing the Court.
In March 2020, the Union govt imposed a 48-hour ban on MediaOne for its reportage on anti-Muslim riots in Delhi, alleging that the channel “seems to be critical towards Delhi Police and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS),” a paramilitary Hindu supremacist group that is closely linked to the BJP.
Court acquits Muslim man in Delhi anti-Muslim violence case, says “no evidence”
A Delhi Court has acquitted a Muslim man, Noor Mohammad, of all the charges leveled against him by the Delhi Police in a case of the 2020 northeast Delhi anti-Muslim violence. Mohammad was falsely accused of being a “member of a mob,” despite the fact that Hindu supremacist mobs were responsible for sparking the violence and lynching dozens of Muslims to death.
“There is no evidence of any kind of overt act against the accused herein, nor is there consistent testimony of four witnesses regarding identification of accused in riotous mob,” 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. Recently, 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.