Seminar on illegal demolition of Muslim Homes held on International Day against Torture
NEW DELHI – The National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations (NCHRO) organised a seminar on Sunday on the recent bulldozing of Muslim properties to coincide with the International Day against Torture. Speakers at the seminar denounced the demolition policy as Islamophobia and part of BJP’s project of Hindu nationalism.
There was a consensus among the speakers over the demolition drives being carried out in BJP ruled states. They all agreed that Muslim houses and businesses are being deliberately targeted as a modus operandi to silence and marginalise the minority community.
The civic authorities that carry out the demolitions justify the act labeling the properties as illegal structures. They need to be asked why single out one particular community for the action. And why are demolitions invariably undertaken following a protest or sectarian violence?
Journalist Sumedha Pal from The Wire shared her thoughts and experience on the ground. She elaborated about how different states like Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi have used bulldozer in pursuit of their Islamophobic policies to destroy livelihood of the Muslim community.
Shabnam Nafisa Kalim, an activist who has actively involved on the ground since the Jahangirpuri bulldozer drive recounted individual experiences of the plight of the common man. She highlighted the need and urgency for building up a collective Muslim voice against the state oppression.
Aasif Mujtaba who runs Miles2Smiles initiative, gave a detailed account of the atrocities perpetrated on Muslims in the past seventy years. He highlighted the constitutional loopholes designed to keep the Muslim community in India outside political power.
He reiterated the need for the community to strive hard to attain socio-political power and ensure representation of Muslims at political platforms working within the framework of the Constitution of India. He pointed out that vote; court and resistance are the three tools that the constitution empowers the Muslim community.
The seminar concluded on a quote from Hennah Arendt: “If one is attacked as a Jew, one must defend oneself as a Jew. Not as a German, not as a world-citizen, not as an upholder of the Rights of Man.”