Ex-Supreme Court Judges, Lawyers Urge India’s Chief Justice To Stop Illegal Demolition of Muslim Houses in Uttar Pradesh
A group of 12 senior advocates, former High Court judges, and former Supreme Court judges submitted a letter petition to Indian Chief Justice India N.V. Ramana demanding he take a strong stance against the police brutality against Muslim protesters and house demolitions in Uttar Pradesh, a state ruled by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
“The coordinated manner in which the police and development authorities have acted lead to the clear conclusion that demolitions are a form of collective extra judicial punishment, attributable to a state policy, which is illegal,” the letter stated, noting that Muslims had the right to make their concerns known through peaceful protest.
“Such a brutal clampdown by a ruling administration is an unacceptable subversion of the rule of law and a violation of the rights of citizens, and makes a mockery of the Constitution and fundamental rights guaranteed by the State.”
“We therefore urge the Hon’ble Supreme Court to take immediate suo moto action to arrest the deteriorating law and order situation in Uttar Pradesh, specifically involving the high-handedness of police and state authorities,” the letter concluded.
The signatories of the letter included Justice B. Sudarshan Reddy, Former Supreme Court Judge; Justice V. Gopala Gowda, former Supreme Court Judge; Justice A.K. Ganguly, former Supreme Court Judge; Justice A P Shah, Former Chief Justice of the Delhi High Court and former Chairperson of the Law Commission of India.
Amnesty India Condemns Indian Government For Selective And Vicious Crackdown Against Muslim Protesters
Amnesty International India slammed the Indian government in a press release demanding the end of police brutality against Muslim protesters.
“Indian authorities must immediately put an end to the excessive use of force in response to large scale protests in the country that has resulted in the death of at least two people, including a child,” said the press release.
“The Government of India is selectively and viciously cracking down on Muslims who dare to speak up and peacefully express their dissent against the discrimination faced by them. Cracking down on protesters with excessive use of force, arbitrary detention and punitive house demolitions by Indian authorities is in complete violation of India’s commitments under international human rights law and standards,” said Aakar Patel, chair of Amnesty International India Board.
The press release also referred to the demolition of Muslim activist Afreen Fatima’s family home as “unlawful and arbitrary.”
“These demolitions stand in absolute violation of the right to adequate housing as enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, to which India is a state party and has been done to inflict punishment on the community for raising their voices against injustice,” it added.
The press release was issued in light of several shocking social media videos showing police violence against Muslims who took to the streets to call for the arrest of former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma for her blasphemous comments against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
Jharkhand Governor Asks Police Why More Force Was Not Used Against Muslim Protesters
Across India, local authorities have continued to crack down against Muslims who protested Nupur Sharma’s hateful comments against Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). In Jharkhand state, Governor Ramesh Bais demanded to know why more excessive force was not used against Muslim protesters.
“Why didn’t you use water cannon, rubber bullets and tear gas?” he asked law enforcement officials during a meeting.
He further called on state police to make the names and photos of suspected protesters public, further placing vulnerable Muslims in danger of wanton arrest and police brutality.
“Find out details of all protesters and those who have been caught, make their names/addresses public, make their hoardings by displaying their photographs at main places in the city so that [the] public could also identify them and help police,” the governor told the officials.
He added, “All such people need to be identified and punished.”
In Uttar Pradesh state, 337 people have been arrested in alleged connection with the protests. Also in Uttar Pradesh, a 19-year-old Muslim was arrested for making a social media post criticizing Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a vitriolic Hindu supremacist who has on multiple occasions emboldened Hindu extremist groups to commit violence, including sexual violence, against Muslim women.