United Nations Special Rapporteurs Condemn Home Demolitions In India, See Collective Punishment Of Muslims
United Nations Special Rapporteurs for Housing, Minority Issues and Freedom of Religion have written a joint letter to the Indian government strongly criticizing and protesting arbitrary housing and property demolitions ordered by local governments to punish Muslims minorities for the intercommunal clashes which occurred between Hindus and Muslims in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh, Anand in Gujarat, and Jehangirpuri in Delhi during and after religious processions in April and May 2022.
The letter is dated June 9 and thus does not include references to demolitions carried out last week by the Uttar Pradesh government in Allahabad, Saharanpur and elsewhere. However, one of the signatories – Balakrishnan Rajagopal, UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Housing – told The Wire, a news website, that the latest actions appear to be part of the same disturbing pattern.
The special rapporteurs’ letter claims the Indian government has carried out “collective punishment” against the minority Muslim community. It is said to cite quotations from the Madhya Pradesh home minister and senior state officials as proof of vindictive intention.
Apparently the letter says demolitions have been carried out without due process and without establishing proof of guilt.
The three rapporteurs have asked the Indian government to share with them the basis on which it has acted, the investigations it has carried out and whether any prior consultation was held with the affected community. The government has 60 days to respond.
Arrest Count Rises To 415 In Uttar Pradesh For Protesting Against Anti-Islam Remarks
A total of 415 persons have been arrested in Uttar Pradesh till Sunday for the protests over derogatory remarks made by two Bharatiya Janata Party spokespersons about the prophet Muhammad.
On 3 June, Muslims took to streets of Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh to protest Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal who made the anti-Islam remarks. On 10 June, in Uttar Pradesh, massive protests of Muslims broke out in Saharanpur, Moradabad and Allahabad and other cities. By June 12, the Uttar Pradesh Police arrested 304 persons from eight districts, PTI reported.
On Sunday, Additional Director General of Police (law and order) Prashant Kumar said 415 accused persons have been arrested. At least 20 first information reports have been filed so far in 10 districts in connection with the protests on June 3 and June 10.
“Three FIRs each have been registered in Kanpur Police Commissionerate and Saharanpur, seven in Prayagraj and one each in Firozabad, Aligarh, Hathras, Moradabad, Ambedkarnagar, Kheri and Jalaun,” Kumar said to PTI.
Ninety-seven persons have been arrested in Allahabad, 85 in Saharanpur, 58 in Kanpur, 41 in Ambedkarnagar, 40 in Moradabad, 35 in Hathras, 20 in Firozabad, eight in Kheri, six in Aligarh and five in Jalaun.
Opposition leaders, Muslim groups and rights bodies accused Uttar Pradesh government of increasingly misusing provisions of law to illegally demolish houses and properties of Muslim individuals and families in areas that witnessed protests.
Among those arrested is Javed Mohammed, a prominent Muslim activist in the city whose house was demolished by the Prayagraj Development Authority as its construction “violated several norms.”
Human rights defenders and activists that speak up against discriminatory policies and laws against Muslims, including the CAA, face criminalisation, arbitrary detention and stigmatisation, said the critics.
Uttar Pradesh Leads As Violence Against Christians Escalating Sharply To Highest Ever Number Of Attacks
As many as 207 incidents of violent crimes allegedly targeting the Christian community have been registered in the country so far this year, according to a report released on June 13 by the United Christian Forum (UCF), a Christian rights protection body.
The UCF recorded 40 such incidents in January, 35 in February, 33 in March, 40 in April, and 57 — the highest number yet this year — in May. Similar to last year, Uttar Pradesh tops the list with 48 incidents, followed by Chhattisgarh (44). Jharkhand recorded 23 such cases of violence, and Madhya Pradesh 14.
The report comes at a time when attacks on minority communities in India are on the rise, from the houses of Muslim families being torn down and men being beaten up for consuming beef, to conversion-related disputes and lynching. Besides the obvious violence against the Muslim community, the country has also been witnessing a sharp rise in attacks on churches, educational institutions, mass gatherings and against religious heads, furthering the strain on India’s secular fabric.
The UCF had come out with another report on April 15, which included the data up until April 13, stating that Christians were at the receiving end of at least 127 incidents of religious violence so far in the year. As per the report, 82 of these incidents comprised mob violence, 89 pastors were beaten for conducting prayers, and 68 churches were attacked.
In a report in December last year, the Forum had referred to 2021 as the “most violent year” for the community, recording 486 such incidents. The reports are based on the information collected by the UCF helpline, a toll-free number that was launched in January 2015 to help people with legal remedies if they have been traumatised by incidents of religious disharmony.