In Separate Incidents, Hindu Extremists Murder 14-Year-Old Dalit Boy, Strip Dalit Man To See If He Is Muslim
Dalits continue to face violence from caste-privileged Hindu extremists across India.
In Uttar Pradesh state, a 14-year-old Dalit boy was beaten to the point of unconsciousness by four Hindu extremist men for stealing mangoes and rice. The boy, Vijay Kumar Gautam, sustained internal injuries and died on August 5 after being admitted to the hospital. Police have refused to acknowledge the caste-based violence that led to Gautam’s death, blaming his passing on “illness.”
Opposition leader Mallikarjun Kharge addressed the incident on Twitter. He slammed Home Minister Amit Shah, a Hindu supremacist and close ally of Prime Minister Nadrendra Modi, for pushing Hindu extremist politics rather than addressing issues of poverty and discrimination.
“A minor Dalit boy has been beaten to death by a mob in PM Modi’s constituency, just for 4 kg of rice… HM Amit Shah ji falls back to creating religious divide, while the poor & middle class continues to suffer,” he tweeted.
In a separate incident in Madhya Pradesh state, a Dalit man was assaulted on August 6 by Hindu extremists over suspicion of being Muslim and alleged theft. The extremists stripped the victim, Aditya Rokde, in order to check if he was circumcised, which is considered a sign of being Muslim.
“They beat my son, stripped him naked and checked whether he was Hindu or Muslim. The police were present at the spot but did nothing to defend my son,” said Rokde’s mother.
An inquiry has been opened regarding the hate crime.
Indian Police Disrupt Muslim Gathering In Kashmir, Detain Dozens While Hindu Pilgrimage Is Offered Security
Indian police forcibly disrupted a Shi’a Muslim gathering marking the Islamic month of Muharram, detaining dozens of Muslims who had gathered to take part in a religious procession.
Muharram is considered one of the holiest months of the year to Shi’a Muslims, and is marked by processions in which participants mourn the death of the Prophet Muhammad’s grandson in the historic battle of Karbala in present-day Iraq.
While the Indian government claims that Muharram processions have been banned over alleged security concerns, Kashmiri Muslims have pointed out that only Islamic processions and holidays have been restricted.
Meanwhile, Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has devoted extensive security to an annual Hindu pilgrimage in Kashmir, offering protection to hundreds of thousands of Hindu pilgrims while Kashmiri Muslims are detained during their own processions.
Kashmiri Muslims have faced decades of brutalization from Indian military forces, including forced disappearances, extrajudicial killings, internet shutdowns, and police brutality. August 5, 2022 marked the third year since the Modi regime stripped Kashmir of the special semi-autonomous status granted by Article 370 of the Indian constitution.
In a recent statement, the internationally renowned watchdog organization Human Rights Watch condemned ongoing abuses by Indian forces in Kashmir.
“Indian authorities appear to be more concerned with projecting an image of normalcy [in Kashmir] than ensuring rights and accountability,” said Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The government needs to end the assault on fundamental freedoms and act to protect minority groups at risk.”
Indian Muslim Women Report Discrimination From Hindus When Seeking Jobs
Muslim women across India have reported facing discrimination when applying for jobs, a trend that has been confirmed by a number of studies comparing Hindu employers’ reception of Muslim job candidates versus Hindu candidates.
One study was conducted by the India-based LedBy Foundation, a leadership incubator that focuses on the professional development of Muslims.
The study involved the creation of two equally qualified résumés, with one under a Hindu name and the other under a Muslim name. Researchers found that the net discrimination rate after applying to 1,000 job listings was 47.1 percent: the Hindu-name résumé received 208 positive responses, while the Muslim-name résumé received only 103.
Muslim women have also reported anecdotes of the discrimination they’ve faced. A number of women told Al Jazeera that they were asked to remove their hijabs (headscarves) by their employers, while others were told that they would not be considered at all unless they were willing to take their hijabs off.
“The bias was always there but with the dominance of [Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party]… people have been now calling for the exclusion of Muslims from all the economic areas,” said Apoorvanand, an academic and activist based in capital New Delhi.
“Since this [discrimination] enjoys the protection and patronage often by the state, it is now being done openly,” he added.
Discrimination against hijabi Muslim women has been codified in Karnataka state, where the High Court has passed an order banning the hijab in all spaces where a uniform is required, including in schools. The order is in direct violation of India’s constitution, which mandates freedom of religion for all groups.