Police crack down on Muslim minors after Hindu extremist violence in Bihar
In a disturbing crackdown on children, police in Bihar state arbitrarily arrested around 150 people, most of them Muslim minors and young adults, after a century-old Islamic seminary was vandalized and burnt down by Hindu extremist mobs during a violent rally on the Hindu festival Ram Navami.
Hindu extremists threw petrol bombs at the historic seminary, burning hundreds of copies of the Holy Quran and over 4,000 Islamic books.
Several Muslims went out to help the police douse the fire. Bizarrely, they were arrested by police claiming they were “investigating” the incident.
Some Muslims arrested had risked their lives dousing the fire. Others are as young as 13 years old and were nowhere near the fire. Notably, the Hindu supremacists who were responsible for arsoning the seminary have faced hardly any consequences, while the Muslim victims are being illegally arrested.
Muslim have blamed the police for conducting a “biased” investigation and arresting people without any evidence.
Digital rights group says new IT rules have a chilling effect on freedom of speech
A digital rights group, the Internet Freedom Foundation (IFF), has said that India’s new rules governing IT, which were introduced by the ruling Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, will have a “chilling effect” on the fundamental right to speech and expression.
The new rules will allow the government to “fact check” information online based on its own agenda, without any regard for truth or neutrality.
“The notification of these amended rules cement the chilling effect on the fundamental right to speech and expression, particularly on news publishers, journalists, [and] activists,” the IFF said.
The group added that the rules would “directly and negatively impact online freedom of speech and the right to receive information.”
“Assigning any unit of the government such arbitrary, overbroad powers to determine the authenticity of online content bypasses the principles of natural justice, thus making it an unconstitutional exercise,” IFF observed.
The reports about the government’s suggestion to make the fact-check rule also saw backlash from renowned human rights groups.
50yo Muslim man arrested for asking Muslims to oppose hate speech rally
A 50-year-old Muslim man was arrested in Maharashtra state for urging Muslims to oppose a hate speech rally of serial hatemonger and Hindu militant leader T. Raja Singh.
Suleman Ahmed Shaikh has been sent to jail for 14 days. On 24 March, Shaikh held a meeting encouraging young members of the Muslim community to protest against Singh’s rally.
Despite multiple hate speech cases against Singh, he continues to call for violence against Muslims without any threat of arrest. In August, the BJP suspended him after a public outcry over his derogatory comments about Prophet Muhammad.
He was released on the condition that he would refrain from making provocative speeches. However, he has continued to deliver genocidal speeches at rallies in Maharashtra, with virtually no consequences. Meanwhile, those who encourage peaceful protest against Singh are detained.
During a rally, the former BJP lawmaker urged Hindus to take up arms if an anti-conversion law was not implemented in Maharashtra. Recently, during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami, which was marred by violence in several states, videos of Singh delivering a hate speech in front of a mosque in Hyderabad city went viral on social media.