In Continuing War Crimes, Indian Security Forces Kill Two Muslim Civilians In Kashmir
Indian security forces shot and killed two Muslim civilians in Kashmir on November 16 in an escalation of the decades’ old violence by the Indian government against the people in India’s only Muslim-majority province. The two civilians — Mohammad Altaf Bhat, the owner of a shopping complex, and Mudasir Gul, a dental surgeon — were killed by a team of police, army and paramilitary forces that had laid siege around the shopping center. The Indian government has failed to accept responsibility for this State-sponsored murder. The security forces have claimed that those killed were terrorists, which is patently false. They have offered no evidence to back that claim.
In a video interview that has gone viral, the young daughter of businessman Bhat’s says, “When we reached the shopping complex and I asked the policemen there how they got to know that my father was a militant, they started laughing unashamedly at me.
My brother is in Class 2. He was very attached to our father. What will we tell him? My mother is unable to stand on her feet. What was my father’s crime?” She added: “My cousin was an eyewitness. Not a single shot was fired in retaliation. The doctor perhaps saw the murder of my father, so he too was martyred to cover up the crime.”
The security forces have even refused to hand over the dead bodies of the two civilians to their families.
Kashmir has been virtually under Indian military occupation for over 30 years. In 2019, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government revoked a long-standing constitutionally-mandated special status for Kashmir and intensified the crackdown, sending thousands of Kashmiri Muslims to prison and escalating widespread human rights abuses.
India’s Highest Persecution Of Christian Recorded In BJP-Ruled Uttar Pradesh
Uttar Pradesh state has recorded the worst attacks against Christians in all of India, a report has said. At least 305 such attacks have occurred this year throughout India, most of them in Uttar Pradesh in Varanasi, Prayagraj (Allahabad), Noida, Ayodhya, Rampur, Bahraich, and Lakhimpur Kheri, among other places.
For five years, Uttar Pradesh has been ruled by Prime Minister Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The government has carried out a massive crackdown on religious minorities, especially Christians and Muslims, killing hundreds and jailing thousands.
According to Christian activist John Dayal, Hindu extremists bearing sticks descend on Christians to assault them, often accompanied by photographers, videographers and even the police. “They disrupt the prayer service, beat up the pastor, and if it is in a building, they attack the building [and] desecrate the Bible,” Dayal said.
Activists cite anti-conversion laws as the reason for the spike in violence. Supporters of the laws claim that they are meant to protect people from being converted against their will. In reality, however, the laws are used to target Muslims and Christians simply for holding prayer services or talking to people of other faiths. Such violence is rarely punished, especially when the attackers claim that the churchgoers were attempting to convert Hindus.
Hindu Extremists Assault Muslim Man, Female Friend In Moral Policing
In expanding extremist vigilante violence against Muslims in India, six Hindu men assaulted two college students, a Muslim man named Mohammad Yasin and his female friend, in Karnataka state. The Hindu men were later arrested but, going by the past trend, they are likely to go free soon. The police stated Yasin was dropping his friend off to her apartment on his bike. The group of six Hindu men stopped them, and upon learning Yasin was Muslim, assaulted him for being with a woman of another faith. The woman herself was also threatened and sexually harassed by the group.
Such cases of moral policing have mushroomed since Modi became prime minister in 2014. Rovind bands of Hindu extremists have taken to attack Muslim men for doing as little as talking to a Hindu woman. This violence has especially escalated after multiple states passed anti-conversion laws. These vigilantes claim that Muslim men have an agenda to seduce, marry, and convert Hindu women, a false notion popularly referred to as “Love Jihad.”
In North India, it has become common for vigilante groups to work with police to identify interfaith couples, which often ends in forced, and sometimes violent, separation. In extreme cases, Muslim men who married or were dating Hindu women have been killed by vigilantes.