Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

International News

India’s “bulldozer justice” flattens Muslim dissent

#Indias #bulldozer #justice #flattens #Muslim #dissent

After two nights in police custody, Indian teenager Somaiya Fatima was released in time to see live footage of an excavator slamming into the walls of her childhood home.

The residence is among dozens of homes and businesses leveled by demolition crews this year in a campaign that authorities have alternately promoted as a fight against illegal construction and a determined response to criminal activity.

But human rights groups have condemned “bulldozer justice” as an unlawful practice of collective punishment by India’s Hindu nationalist government, and many of the campaign’s victims have one thing in common.

“We are Muslims and that is why we are being targeted,” Fatima told AFP.

The 19-year-old was arrested along with her family after her father was accused of organizing a large public protest in the northern city of Allahabad last month.

It was one of several rallies across India over the past month to condemn a ruling party spokeswoman whose provocative comments about the Prophet Mohammed during a televised debate sparked anger across the Muslim world.

On the day Fatima was released, she was sitting in a relative’s living room when she saw footage of the destruction of her home on her cell phone.

She said the demolition was a lesson for Muslims tempted to speak out against the government.

“They instilled fear in an entire community,” she said. “Everyone is looking at their home now and thinking if it happened to us, it can happen to them too.”

– “No Empathy” –

Fatima’s home state of Uttar Pradesh is ruled by Yogi Adityanath, a saffron-clad Hindu monk believed to be the potential successor to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

In office, he has championed the bulldozer as a symbol of his commitment to law and order and as a potential tool against “troublemakers”.

Adityanath’s followers celebrated his successful campaign for re-election as prime minister earlier this year by riding backhoes, while bulldozer tattoos became a minor fad among supporters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

Since then, “bulldozing” has spread to other parts of the country, and demolition campaigns have quickly begun after outbreaks of religious unrest.

After a violent clash in April between Hindus following a religious procession and Muslims holding Ramadan prayers, authorities in Delhi tore down nearly two dozen Muslim shop fronts and the facade of a mosque, defying a court order to stop them .

Officials say the spate of demolitions is lawful as they only target buildings erected without legal permits.

But victims of the campaign deny their homes are illegal and say they are not being given the statutory time limit to contest demolition orders.

Fatima’s house was demolished “in the presence of hundreds of police officers and hundreds of cameras without empathy,” KK Rai, a lawyer for Fatima’s father, told AFP.

“There is no comparison for this ruthlessness.”

Government critics say the campaign is the latest manifestation of the BJP’s discriminatory policies against India’s 200 million Muslim minority.

“They have an ideological obligation to make Muslims in India second-class citizens, to humiliate them socially and to destroy their property,” Rai said.

Amnesty International said last month the demolitions were part of a selective and “vicious” crackdown on Indian Muslims who dared to speak out against the discrimination they faced.

– ‘Sleepless nights’ –

Many Muslims living in Uttar Pradesh now fear their own homes are destined for demolition after their family members took part in last month’s protests.

“Now we have sleepless nights and restless days,” said Mohd Javed, a resident of Saharanpur who was ordered to vacate his home shortly after his brother was arrested for joining a demonstration in that city.

A week after Fatima’s arrest, a bulldozer was parked in front of the police station near her former home.

The pile of brick and concrete in its place has reinforced their own sense of belonging to a pariah community.

She recalled seeing her house being demolished on a news channel’s YouTube live stream as her phone screen filled with a flood of comments from the public praising the demolition.

“I was born there and have lived there all my life,” Fatima said. “But it was obvious that people were happy when someone’s house was destroyed.”

Social Tags:
#Indias #bulldozer #justice #flattens #Muslim #dissent

You May Also Like

Health News

The cosmetic and facial plastic surgery practice is hosting a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting for its new Chattanooga state-of-the-art location.

Current News

“NEXT by TRT World Forum” Brought Together Globally Known Young Professionals

Current News

J & D Oriental Rug Co. sells antique and vintage carpets and rugs sourced from different regions with an inventory of over 6000 unique...

Business and Tech

Big brands are rushing into the metaverse, but the path to profit is still unclear and mass adoption could be years away, one of...