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‘Ordinary people beat Muslims, police beat Muslims’: Rights defenders decry ‘hate crimes’ in India

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SRINAGAR,KASHMIR, INDIA: Women perform dawn prayers on the occasion of celebration of Mawlid al-Nabi or Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) birth anniversary in Dargah Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar,Kashmir on October 09, 2022. (Faisal Khan - Anadolu Agency)
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Oct 11, 2022 - 01:43 AM

ISTANBUL (AA) – A video that shows Muslim men tied to a pole and being beaten by police last week in the western Indian state of Gujarat for allegedly throwing stones at a religious event triggered outrage on social media.

India’s Muslims are subjected to systematic police violence, lynching by radical groups, and political discrimination, according to human rights groups and local Muslim leaders. They have criticized the way perpetrators of attacks on Muslims are not punished, politicians who spread anti-Muslim propaganda are promoted, and violent police are not disciplined.

Speaking to Anadolu Agency, Zafarul Islam Khan, editor-in-chief of the English-language Milli Gazette newspaper, responded to the video.

“These people who are doing the beating are plainclothes police, not ordinary people. These youth, they were accused of throwing stones on some Hindu procession. It wasn’t proven, just claimed,” he said.

Khan said that since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, there have been over 700 lynching incidents, but police failed to take any action.

“Ordinary people are beating Muslims. Police are beating Muslims outside, in police stations, even in jails. So it’s happening almost every single day,” he said.

“Muslim houses are being demolished over the smallest thing. If you quarrel with a Hindu, he will go and bring some officer with a bulldozer and demolish your home.”

Official who called for killing of Muslims is promoted

Underlining that the perpetrators of attacks on Muslims almost never get punished, Khan said the participation in lynching groups has increased and that both police violence and lynching of radical Hindu groups are rising every day.

He said that in February 2020, during election campaigning, then-Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs Anurag Thakur called for the killing of Muslims, adding that “nothing happened to him.”

“He even got a promotion. He was minister of state, but now he’s a minister (for information and broadcasting). This is government policy. They don’t say it openly, but this is their policy.”

Khan added: “Hindus must have the upper hand, and Muslims are second-class citizens. Muslims must keep quiet. They must take it in their chains. They should not protest, they should not come out, they should not demonstrate. This is the situation here in India under Mr. Modi.”

On Oct. 4, several Muslim men were tied to a pole and beaten with a stick by plainclothes police officers as a crowd watched in the western Indian state of Gujarat.

On Twitter, Amnesty International criticized the incident: “The Gujarat police’s use of striking devices such as lathis [sticks] to beat Muslim men who were tied to a pole by the police themselves is a serious human rights violation and shows their utter disrespect towards rule of law.

“We remind the Gujarat Police that punishment is never a legitimate objective for a law enforcement action, even if using less lethal weapons. In this case, it blatantly ignored the guiding principles of legality, necessity, proportionality, and accountability.”

Indian Muslim leader and parliamentarian Asaduddin Owaisi also criticized the police violence on Twitter:

“Every day, there is more evidence of mass radicalization. Floggings and mob violence by cops have become common. Targeted violence against Muslims is treated as ‘justice’,” Owaisi said.

* Writing by Seda Sevencan

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