Two Dalits flogged, paraded half-naked for ‘selling beef’ in Chhattisgarh
Hindu supremacists assaulted and publicly humiliated two Dalit men in Chattisgarh state over allegations of selling beef. The victims, Ramniwasi Meher (52) and Narasimha Rohidas (50), were beaten with a belt and paraded half-naked while being filmed.
The video of the caste-based hate crime, which shows the victims being publicly flogged and paraded in their underwear, has sparked outrage online. However, rather than prosecuting the Hindu supremacists responsible for the assault,, police instead detained the two victims for the possession of beef.
Instances of Hindu supremacist mob violence against people who sell and consume beef, or cow vigilantism, have increased under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu supremacist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Those most affected are Muslims, as well as marginalized Hindu groups who view beef consumption as permissible.
Mere possession of “jihadi” literature not an offence: Delhi court
In a surprising move, a Delhi court, while dealing with an Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) case, has said it is unfathomable that “mere possession of Jihadi literature” or philosophy “would amount to an offense.”
“Such a proposition runs counter to the freedoms and rights guaranteed by Article 19 of the Constitution. Even if they were impressed by the said philosophy and ideology, still they cannot be said to be members much less such members as would attract the penal liability of the said organization,” said Judge Dharmesh Sharma.
The National Investigation Agency (NIA) has in the case accused 11 people of aligning themselves with the banned terrorist organization Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) for the mere possession of literature that is considered to be “jihadi,” but has not been banned by the government.
Judge Sharma further stated that there is “no iota of material collected” to suggest that any of the accused had committed any crime, gathered any arms, or were part of a greater terrorism plot.
“The accused persons before this Court are more or less young persons and their religious & ideological bent of mind is certainly disdainful… However, since none of the accused is said to have indulged in any acts of violence or of being a party to any conspiracy for committing any particular terrorist act, they cannot be held prima facie to have committed the offences in question.”
The draconian UAPA, which allows the government to label individuals as terrorists, has been used to target and incarcerate Muslim activists and civilians without offering them a chance at bail. The law has been extensively criticized by international human rights organizations, including Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.
Former BJP leader says Muslim museum should be set on fire
India-based human rights organization Citizens for Justice and Peace (CJP) filed a complaint with the National Commission for Minorities (NCM) against Hindu supremacist and former BJP leader Deepak Sharma after he made derogatory statements and spewed hate against Muslims in Assam.
“Assam is filled with Miyas (Muslims), so why there is need for a [Muslim] museum? It should be set on fire and set ablaze.”
The Assam government has targeted the Miya museum, which commemorates the heritage of Bengal-origin Muslims who settled in the modern-day Assam state in the late 1800s, by sealing it. Other BJP leaders in Assam had also demanded that the museum be shut down immediately.
Hindu supremacists in the region have been agitating for decades to deport Bengali-origin Muslims, refusing to recognize millions of Bengali-origin communities as Indian citizens.
“Miya culture cannot be the culture of Assam so the Museum cannot be built here,” Sharma said, adding that the museum can be built in Pakistan or Bangladesh.
Karnataka to introduce Hindu religious practices in educational institutions
The Karnataka government on Thursday instructed schools and pre-university colleges in the state to ensure mandatory 10-minute meditation sessions, known as ‘dhyan’ in Hinduism, for all students regardless of their faith.
The openly Hindu supremacist move comes as a blow to the Muslim community, which has faced harassment and threats of violence over hijabi students demanding their right to wear their religious dress in schools.
State Education Minister B.C. Nagesh claimed that the step is being taken to increase concentration, health, and good thoughts. “The school and college management should fix a time and conduct meditation sessions for students,” he said.
The move is likely to draw criticism as minority organizations and opposition party members have repeatedly slammed the BJP for its double standard in pushing Hinduism through education while attempting to suppress expressions of Islam.