Indian law enforcement agencies have become the greatest threat to Muslims in India, with all institutions categorically failing to safeguard the rights of the largest minority, noted speakers at the Fraternity Movement press conference.
NEW DELHI – Fraternity Movement of India, a social organisation, urged the public to acknowledge the “plummeting law and order situation in the country under the BJP government which has led to unprecedented hostility against the Muslim community”.
The group addressed a press conference in New Delhi in a show of solidarity with Afreen Fatima whose house was demolished by authorities in Prayagraj, on Sunday.
“Unfortunately we see that Indian law enforcement agencies have become the greatest threat to Muslims in India, with all institutions categorically failing to safeguard the rights of the largest minority or even any ‘undesirable’ person, groups or communities for the ruling party in the country,” the speakers said.
After the Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) started its second term in 2019, the incidence of hate speech and hate crime has increased at an alarming rate. In this year alone dozens of Dharm Sansads (religious congregations) have been organised by extremist Hindu outfits openly calling for ethnic cleansing, mass murders, and genocide of more than 200 million Muslim citizens of India.
The speakers who gave these genocide calls are enjoying an unparalleled amount of impunity from the state at a time when hundreds of scholars, activists, and human rights defenders are languishing behind bars for speaking up against the government’s policies, they further said.
The Fraternity believes with unprecedented flow of hate speeches and deeply derogatory rhetoric against Muslims, India’s political vocabulary has taken a dangerous shift.
Elected officials and members of the ruling BJP no less than chief ministers have normalised demonisation of Muslims in their speeches. Much of these hateful rhetoric against the Muslim community is said during television debates.
In one such debate, BJP’s national spokesperson and leader Nupur Sharma made derogatory remarks about Prophet Muhammad. Muslim activists, community leaders and other organisations demanded criminal proceedings against Sharma and Naveed Jindal, another BJP functionary who repeated Sharma’s statements on his social media. In the next few days, governments of Arab nations heavily criticised the comments and called upon the Indian government to take action against the accused.
“These kinds of remarks had become a norm in India and it became a major foreign policy issue for the government. With India facing immense pressure from the Arab world, the ruling BJP government was forced to issue clarifications and had to eventually suspend Sharma and Jindal from the party’s primary membership.”
In the following days Muslims staged protests in different parts of the country demanding the arrest of the two BJP leaders. However, these peaceful protests were met with an unprecedented police crackdown.
“The ruling party decided to take revenge on the Muslims for its humiliation abroad. Two Muslim teenagers were killed, hundreds were illegally detained and several dozens of Muslim-owned houses were demolished. Several chilling videos of police officials brutally assaulting Muslim protestors were documented and reported by media organisations. Thousands of Muslim youths were arrested under serious non-bailable charges while Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal were offered security by the state.”
One such crackdown happened in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj where police have booked among others, the federal working committee member of the Welfare party of India Javed Muhammad. Javed’s daughter and Fraternity Movement national secretary Afreen Fatima in a letter written to the National Commission for Women (NCW) alleged that her father has been illegally detained by the police.
Several hours later, in the middle of the night, Afreen’s mother and younger sister were also detained. The police forced the remaining residents of the house to evict the property and threatened demolition at dawn. On Sunday morning the house was illegally demolished. Javed Muhammad, her father, was named as the mastermind of the clashes and sent to jail.
“We stand with Afreen Fatima and her family who are enduring a difficult phase. We see the arrest of Javed Mohammed as part of a new trend of silencing Muslim leaders to create despair among the people of that community,” the speakers said in one voice demanding an impartial judicial inquiry into the demolition of Javed Mohammed’s house among other houses razed down as a collective punishment, as gloated by government officials and ruling party leaders.
The group alleged that Sarah Ahmed Siddiqui, president of Fraternity Movement Allahabad, is also targeted and vilified by right-wing news channels.
Reports suggest that she is named as a conspirator of the protest on 10 June in Allahabad. We condemn the media trial and extend unconditional solidarity to Sarah and her family.
We urge the people, the core of the country’s democracy, to hold officials accountable for their anti-Muslim atrocities.