Muslim Activist Afreen Fatima’s Family Detained On Scam Charges, Home Illegally Demolished
Uttar Pradesh authorties sparked international outrage after detaining the family of Muslim activist Afreen Fatima on false charges and illegally bulldozing their home in a chilling act of retribution against Fatima’s open criticism of the Modi government. Activists, journalists, and academics have slammed Hindu supremacist authorities with scathing criticism for both the illegal demolition as well as the overall treatment of Muslims in India.
“Dear CNN, your Indian affiliate is aiding genocide in celebrating the illegal demolition of Muslim homes by a Nazi Party inspired Hindu monk in Uttar Pradesh,” tweeted journalist CJ Werleman.
“[This is] a clear and resounding message to 220 Million Muslims in India to remain silent and do nothing as the BJP besieges their faith, communities, and lives,” tweeted prominent Muslim activist Khaled Beydoun.
“Indian police go on a rampage and destroy Muslim houses for taking part in protests,” tweeted Professor Steve Hanke.
In a Twitter thread breaking down the abuses against Fatima and her family, activist Sharjeel Usmani said, “Afreen Fatima and her family [are] paying a price for who they are. This is dangerously cruel. This is a witch hunt.”
Authorities raided the family’s home hours after protests were held in Pragyaraj city against former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) spokesperson Nupur Sharma’s offensive comments against Prophet Muhammad. Police then arrested Fatima’s father Mohammad Javed, mother Parveen Fatima, and teenager sister Somaiya, on the blatantly false charge that Javed was the “mastermind” behind the protests.
Fatima’s mother and sister were illegally detained for 30 hours before they were released. However, Javed remains in police custody for a crime he did not commit.
After the raid, bulldozers were brought in to demolish the 20-year-old family home under the false pretense that the home was “illegally constructed.” A viral video on social media shows the home being reduced completely to rubble, with all the family’s belongings still inside.
“We saw our house crumble down. We had lived all our lives there. It was our home for 21 years,” said Fatima in an interview with Al Jazeera. “It is all so painful.”
Hindu Extremist Law Enforcement Use Brutal Force Against Muslim Protesters
Social media videos of police violence against Muslims during recent protests have shed light on the stark difference between law enforcement’s treatment of Muslims versus Hindus across India.
One video taken from Jharkhand state showed a visibly terrified Muslim boy going to a police officer for help after being caught in the middle of a protest. The officer can be seen taking the boy to his colleagues, who immediately begin beating him until the boy runs for his life.
In another video, police can be heard yelling at each other to open gunfire on Muslims. A video of Muslims being violently beaten by police batons was retweeted by BJP lawmaker Shalabh Mani Tripathi, who called the violence a “return gift to the rebels.”
Muslims are also being arrested regardless of their role in any protests. In Delhi, two men were arrested as “culprits” for being part of a non-violent protest after Friday prayers outside of Jama Masjid. Police have declared that they are scanning CCTV footage to identify and arrest more protesters.
Muslims Protest Against Demolition of Afreen Fatima’s Home
Protests have erupted over the illegal demolition of activist Afreen Fatima’s family home, including in Delhi, where photos and videos show around 60 Muslims being physically dragged by police and arrested for protesting against the fascist Modi government.
In Kerala state, Muslims protesting the demolition also faced police brutality, with one shocking photo showing a police officer dragging a Muslim woman by her hijab. Muslim student leader and Fraternity Movement national secretary Aysha Renna was also injured when police baton-charged a protest blocking a highway in Kerala. Renna has further accused the police of humiliating her while she was being held in custody.
Another protest was held at the prestigious Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), where students raised slogans demanding the end of home demolitions and the “witch hunt” against Muslims.