WASHINGTON, D.C. — The Indian American Muslim Council (IAMC) has welcomed US Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s 2022 Country Report on Human Rights Practices, which offers extensive documentation of “accelerating human rights abuses in India under the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government.”
The comprehensive US government report cites numerous instances of violent attacks and killings of Muslims, Christians, and other religious minorities, government-led demolitions of Muslim homes, discriminatory laws targeted at Muslims, arrest of government critics, government censorship of media, attacks on journalists, and numerous other indicators of rising authoritarianism and widespread anti-Muslim practices.
Among the numerous instances of homicidal religious violence noted in the report, the report cites that “more than 30 tribal Christians and Muslims had either been lynched or beaten up on suspicion of cow slaughter, sale and consumption of beef, and religious hatred between 2016 and 2021.”
The report also notes the brutal murder of Muslim farmer Nazir Ahmed, stating: “On August 2, a mob beat a Muslim man to death and injured two others in Madhya Pradesh after allegations of cow smuggling. The two men were transporting Cows to a cattle market to sell.”
In a press statement, IAMC Executive Director welcomed the State Department’s Report on the state of human rights in India: “We applaud Secretary of state Antony Blinken for singling out anti-Muslim violence in the State Department’s 2022 report on Human Rights Practices, and call on him and the U.S. state department to immediately designate India a Country of Particular Concern for its egregious violations of human rights.”
The report’s catalogue of the government-led destruction of Muslim homes is also damning. “Human rights activists reported the government was allegedly targeting vocal critics from the Muslim community and using the bulldozers to destroy their homes and livelihood,” the report stated, detailing the case of Muslim activist Javed Mohammad, whose home was destroyed by a government agency in June 2022.
“On April 8, following opposition from Madhya Pradesh State Minister Om Prakash Dhurve to an interfaith marriage, Dindori district officials demolished the residence of a Muslim man who married a Hindu woman. On April 7, the officials demolished three shops belonging to the Muslim man’s family, claiming they were illegal constructions,” the report stated.
In the section “Other Societal Violence and Discrimination,” the report also records the rise of laws criminalising conversion after marriage passed in response to the “Love Jihad” conspiracy theory. “Police reported several arrests of mostly Muslim men for violation of an anti-conversion law passed in Uttar Pradesh in February,” the report notes.
Arbitrary arrests of critics of the Modi regime are also comprehensively cataloged in the report, which condemns the arrest of Muslim student Umar Khalid “for making a speech during protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act, 2019,” and “human rights activist and Jesuit priest Father Stan Swamy, age 84, [who] died in a private hospital after contracting COVID-19 in prison and after being denied bail on medical grounds by an NIA special court.”
“There were reports from journalists and NGOs that government officials at both the local and national levels intimidated media outlets through physical harassment and attacks, pressuring owners, targeting sponsors, encouraging frivolous lawsuits, and in some areas blocking communication services, such as mobile telephones and the internet, and constraining freedom of movement,” the report states. It cites the case of arrest of “fact-checker and journalist Mohammed Zubair, whose tweet highlighting a BJP spokesperson’s alleged remarks insulting Prophet Mohammed went viral” as well as the intimidation of “women journalists, including Washington Post columnists Rana Ayyub and Barkha Dutt, NDTV’s Nidhi Razdan, The Wire’s Rohini Singh, and others.”
“A lack of accountability for official misconduct persisted at all levels of government, contributing to widespread impunity,” the report adds.
Commenting on the State Department report, Ahmed said: “In spreading horror and provoking incalculable losses, the government-led destruction of Muslim property in India constitutes a form of state-sponsored terror. Following the acknowledgement of this issue in this report, the US State Department must take the next steps and pressure the Modi government to abandon this abominable practice.”