Arrests Wrongful, House Demolitions Arbitrary in MP’s Jaora: APCR Report

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Family members of all of the arrested Muslims reject the allegations of desecrating a temple.

Waquar Hasan | Clarion India

NEW DELHI – The arrest of four Muslims and demolition of their houses following the uproar created by Hindutva outfits after a cow’s head was found near a temple in Madhya Pradesh’s Jaora district are wrongful and arbitrary, stated a fact-finding report.

On 14 June, Hindu organisations created ruckus, took out march and forced shopkeepers to down shutters after the severed head of a cow was discovered by a priest. Under pressure of Hindutva campaign, the police arrested  Shakir, Salman, Nausad and Shahrukh and demolished their houses. The administration also invoked the stringent National Security Act (NSA) against them.

A fact-finding report released by the Association for Protection of Civil Rights (APCR) has criticised the arrests and the demolitions of the houses.

“The cases involving Naushad, Shakir, Shahrukh, and Salman in Jaora highlight grave concerns regarding wrongful arrests, alleged police misconduct, and arbitrary demolitions in the aftermath of the incident at Jagannath Mahadev Temple. These events have not only inflicted severe hardships on the accused individuals but have also escalated communal tensions, prompting serious questions about procedural fairness and the protection of civil liberties,” noted the report. “The families of the accused vehemently deny their involvement and allege bias and undue pressure from local authorities and certain organisations,” the report said.  

Activists Zaid Pathan, Tariq Shaikh and advocate Mehar Ali Dehlavi were part of the fact-finding team which prepared the report. 

Family members of all of the arrested persons rejected the allegations of desecrating the temple.

“My husband was at home all night on Friday. The police are lying and have also taken away DVR of our house CCTV footage which proves his innocence,” said cattle trader Naushad’s wife.

Shakir, who works as a labourer, is a minor. His family states he was at home after midnight on June 14. CCTV footage confirmed Shakir and Salman passing by the temple but not entering or stopping there. They assert Shakir is a minor and wrongly implicated, and his arrest was arbitrary and without proper justification or explanation from the police.

Similarly, family members of Salman and Shahrukh also rejected the allegations saying that they did not enter the temple at all. Salman is a labourer while Shahrukh works as truck mechanic.

The APCR strongly condemned these actions and emphasised an urgent need for a thorough investigation into the whole episode.

“It is imperative that justice is served and the rights of all individuals, irrespective of their religious or professional backgrounds, are fully upheld under the law. The incident in Jaora underscores the critical importance of impartial investigations, adherence to legal procedures, and protection of individual rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution. Specifically, Article 21, which guarantees the right to life and personal liberty, and Article 14, which ensures equality before the law, are pivotal in safeguarding against arbitrary arrests and unfair treatment,” noted the report.

It demanded that officials involved in the unjust arrests and demolitions should be held accountable through a transparent investigation process.

“Proper legal procedures must be enforced to protect citizens’ rights and ensure that such incidents do not recur. The affected families should be compensated for the loss of their homes and the emotional trauma experienced. This compensation should be provided promptly and in accordance with established legal principles to mitigate the hardship caused by the arbitrary demolitions,” noted the fact-finding team.

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