Local authorities in India have started demolishing the homes of some Muslims after protests in the area took a violent turn.
Officials in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh ordered the demolition of any illegal buildings and homes of people accused of involvement in the so-called ‘riots’ there last week, the state’s ruling Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) spokesperson said in a statement. One of the houses bulldozed to the ground was none other than the home of Afreen Fatima, a Muslim rights activist. Her father has also been accused of leading the protests against Hindu nationalists and is in custody.
Fatima and her family weren’t even in their home when it was demolished, but the 24-year-old told Al Jazeera that the incident was “illegal.”
“At around 8:50pm on Friday, police came, saying they want to talk to my father. They asked him to accompany him to the police station. That is it. They did not tell us if it was a detention or if it was an arrest. There was no warrant that was shown.”
She continued: “My mother and my sister were illegally detained for more than 30 hours.”
“The demolition is absolutely illegal because it is not even my father’s property. The house belongs to my mother. We had been paying our house taxes for around 20 years and not once did we receive any intimation by any development authorities of Allahabad that our house is illegal. Why were they even taking our taxes if it was an illegal house?” she told the outlet adding, “Without proving the allegations that my father was a mastermind of protests, which he was not, they punished us.”
The news comes as a result of derogatory remarks made by Hindu nationalist members of the ruling BJP party. Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal both made disrespectful comments about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), a prominent figure in Islam, which understandably angered the Muslim minority in the country and also become a catalyst for a global boycott of Indian relations by Muslim-majority nations.
The BJP party has now suspended both of the Hindu-nationalist leaders and has offered a wishy-washy ‘apology’ on behalf of them, stating that the comments do not reflect the political party’s views. However, when ‘peaceful protests’ broke out to condemn the remarks, Hindu nationalists as well as the police force got involved, beating, and in two instances even killing, Muslim protestors.
This just adds to a long list of human rights abuses taking place against Muslims in India right now. The country is currently in the midst of an intense, religious clash with right-wing Hindu nationalists threatening to “eradicate” the Muslim population.
Hate crimes against Muslims have spiked in the past few months, with video footage and photographs being shared on social media showing them being attacked and beaten in the streets. Gangs of Hindu nationalists have been purposefully seeking out Muslim victims in order to intimidate them into submission and with the government remaining primarily silent on the issue, it’s been an extremely growing concern.
Gregory Stanton, Founder of Genocide Watch, has warned that a “genocide could very well happen in India,” also adding that there are “early signs” of it occurring right now.
May Allah make it easier for Indian Muslims during this incredibly difficult time.