Indian Police Criminally Charge Lawyers Who Exposed Anti-Muslim Violence By Hindu Extremists - IAMC

Indian Police Criminally Charge Lawyers Who Exposed Anti-Muslim Violence By Hindu Extremists

The Indian American Muslim Council condemns the Tripura state government for criminally charging four lawyers from the Supreme Court of India two days after they reported on the anti-Muslim violence in that state of the last two weeks. It is shocking that Tripura Police have booked the lawyers under the draconian Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) and asked them to report before them by November 10. The police have also demanded that the lawyers’ social media posts about the violence be deleted.

The lawyers belong to different organizations, including Lawyers for Democracy, National Confederation of Human Rights Organization (NCHRO) and the Peoples Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), all renowned civil rights watchdogs. They have been charged with “promoting disharmony enmity or feelings of hatred between different groups on the grounds of religion, forgery, threatening, provocation to break public peace and criminal conspiracy” under Sections 153A, 153 B, 469, 471, 503, 504 and 120B of the Indian Penal Code and Section 13 of the UAPA. These are nothing but India’s archaic blasphemy laws that should not even exist.

The lawyers are Estesham Hashmi, a Supreme Court lawyer; Amit Srivastav, Co-ordinator of Lawyers for Democracy; NCHRO national secretary Ansar Indori; and PUCL member Mukesh Kumar. Their report has established how Hindu extremists targeted, vandalized mosques and Muslims houses, and also assaulted women. The Hindu extremists behind these attacks belong to the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and Bajrang Dal, two outfits directly affiliated with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu rightwing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

No Police Officer Charged In 18 Extrajudicial Killings In BJP-Ruled Uttar Pradesh: Report

The BJP-ruled government in Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populous state with 220 million people, has failed to bring charges against a single policeman in 17 cases of extrajudicial killings in which 18 people were killed by the police, an independent investigation by civil rights organizations has found. The killings occurred between March 2017, when BJP’s Yogi Adityanath, a virulent Hindu extremist, took power as chief minister, and March 2018. Incredibly, in every single case, the police filed criminal charges against the victims of those killings, according to the report from three organizations, Youth for Human Rights Documentation, Citizens Against Hate, and People’s Watch. Sixteen of the 18 who were extrajudicially killed were Muslims, which speaks to the deep-seated Islamophobia of Chief Minister Adityanath and his extremist government.

The report titled Extinguishing Law and Life: Police Killings and Cover Up in the state of  Uttar Pradesh describes Uttar Pradesh as an “active theatre of encounter killings” with “gross procedural and substantive violations by investigating agencies and judicial magistrates” in investigating these extrajudicial killings. At every step of the required investigation after a death in custody, the authorities failed to correctly follow these procedures, alleged the report. The 165 pages report has evaluated the investigations and inquiries conducted in these 17 cases and examined the role of the investigating agency, Executive Magistrates, Judicial Magistrates, and National Human Rights Commission of India, to assess whether they complied with the existing legal framework.

The report reveals gross violations of law, both procedural and substantive, by the investigating agency and the judicial magistrates, in investigating these killings. Independent bodies such as the NHRC and oversight mechanisms such as magisterial inquiries have failed to identify these violations of law and have ignored factual contradictions in the police version of events. Instead, they have routinely condoned the unconstitutional procedures followed by the police during these investigations, according to the report.


Under-Trial Prisoner Tortured In Punjab Jail, ’Terrorist’ Tattooed On His Back

In a shocking revelation, an under-trial prisoner in Punjab state has alleged that jail authorities tortured him after he complained of subhuman prison conditions and tattooed the word “atankwadi”, which means terrorist, on his back.

Karamjit Singh, 28, who belongs to India’s minority Sikh community, has alleged that the jail superintendent tortured him after he complained that prisoners were being ill treated and those with AIDS and hepatitis were left to die. India’s prisons are among the worst in the world in the ill-treatment of their inmates.