Supreme Court criticizes Modi govt for curbing freedom of expression
The Supreme Court of India accused the Indian government led by Hindu supremacist Prime Minister Narendra Modi of limiting freedom of expression under the guise of “national security.”
The criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was part of a ruling in which the Supreme Court canceled a heavily criticized government ban on a Muslim-owned news channel, MediaOne.
“The state is using national security as a tool to deny citizens remedies that are provided under the law. This is not compatible with the rule of law,” said the Supreme Court.
The government had suspended the services of MediaOnd and described the channel as anti-establishment over its reporting on the Citizenship Amendment Act, an anti-Muslim citizenship law passed in 2020.
The court noted that such government action “produces a chilling effect on free speech and in particular on press freedom.”
Last month, the US government, in its annual report on human rights in India, denounced violence, threats, arrests, and unjustified trials of journalists, and the application of laws against defamation laws to limit their expression.
BJP lawmaker urges Modi to demolish Taj Mahal, build a temple in its place
A lawmaker of the Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) in Assam state has urged ruling Prime Minister Narendra Modi to demolish the nation’s most iconic historical site, the Taj Mahal, and other monuments of the Mughal era, including the Qutub Minar and Red Fort. He also called for temples to be built in places where these monuments currently stand.
The lawmaker, Rupjyoti Kurmi, further sparked outrage after he questioned whether Shah Jahan, the emperor who built the Taj Mahal, really loved his wife Mumtaz Mahal, in whose memory he built the monument, and even demanded an inquiry into the same.
His remarks come days after the federal education body removed numerous sections from textbooks including parts on the Muslim-ruled Mughal empire, democracy, and popular movements.
Court grants bail to Islamic scholar arrested on false charges of forced conversion
Prominent Islamic scholar Maulana Kaleem Siddiqui, who has been jailed under undemocratic anti-conversion laws, was granted bail by the Allahabad High Court years after he was arrested by BJP-ruled Uttar Pradesh state’s Anti-Terrorist Squad in September 2021.
Siddiqui is one of the prominent scholars from Uttar Pradesh state and the president of the Global Peace Center as well as Jamia Imam Waliullah Trust.
Soon after his arrest, parliamentarians, lawmakers, community leaders, and activists said that the detention violated the veteran Muslim leader’s constitutional rights. Siddique’s arrest was also condemned by the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom.
More than a dozen Muslims, including Muslim scholars Mohammad Umar Gautam and Mufti Quazi Jahangeer Quasmi, have been languishing in jail under the same anti-conversion law over false charges of forcibly converting Hindus to Islam.