Conflicts & War

HRW flags growing state violence against Muslims in India

New Delhi, Oct 7 (EFE).- Violence against the minority Muslim community in India is growing as the security forces impose increasingly brutal punitive measures against them, nonprofit Human Rights Watch warned on Friday.

“The authorities in several Indian states are carrying out violence against Muslims as a kind of summary punishment,” Meenakshi Ganguly, the South Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said in a statement.

She said that by violating the rule of law, the security agencies were “sending a message to the public that Muslims can be discriminated against and attacked.”

The statement comes after a video widely circulated by Indian media and social networks showed at least four Muslim men being tied up to a pole and beaten in front of a cheering crowd.

The incident took place on Tuesday in the western state of Gujarat, when police arrested a dozen men for allegedly pelting stones at a ceremonial dance during a Hindu festival, which was being organized close to a mosque.

The officers – who were wearing civilian clothes – allegedly beat up the accused on the spot in the Undhela village, instead of taking them to a police station.

HRW highlighted that the authorities decided to open a probe into the incident only when the videos went viral a few days later.

The NGO directly linked Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party – in power both in Gujarat and the center – with the growing violence against Muslims, especially in provinces ruled by the party.

According to the group, in BJP-rule states such as Gujarat, apart from violent repression and extra-judicial “punishments,” the authorities have also “demolished Muslim homes and properties without legal authorization.”

One of these incidents took place in Delhi in April, when the authorities “used nine bulldozers and demolished at least 25 shops, vending carts, and houses.”

The demolitions were carried out after a BJP leader urged the municipal government to identify allegedly illegally constructed properties of those accused of communal clashes and “run bulldozers over them.”

India, a country of over 1.35 billon people, has often witnessed bloody clashes between Hindus and Muslims in recent history, in which thousands of people were killed and wounded.

Radicalization among the majority Hindus has increased after Modi’s right-wing government first came to power in 2014, and human rights groups have flagged a disproportionate rise in attacks against Muslims. EFE


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