Indian Muslims continue to protest Islamophobic comments

Clashes broke out between Muslims and Hindus and police in several places in India.

REPUBLIC.CO.ID, KOLKATA – Thousands of Muslims India continued demonstrations in the second week in the city of Kolkata. Meanwhile, six high-profile former judges said the state government broke the law by demolishing the home of a Muslim activist.

Muslims across India took to the streets to protest anti-Islamic remarks by two officials from Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). Clashes broke out between Muslims and Hindus as well as demonstrators and the police in several areas, and around 400 people were arrested.

Last weekend, Uttar Pradesh (UP) State Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath ordered the demolition of all buildings belonging to people suspected of being involved in last week’s riots. Including the house of the Muslim activist Mohammad Javed.

In a letter addressed to the Minister of Justice, six former judges and a senior lawyer condemned the state government’s move to demolish Javed’s home. The former judge and lawyer called on the Supreme Court to take action to stop “the destruction of law and order” in Uttar Pradesh.

“The coordinated action of the police and the developer led to the clear conclusion that crushing is a form of collective extrajudicial punishment caused by illegal government actions,” they wrote on Wednesday (6/15/2022).

Local authorities said the demolition was justified because the house was built illegally. Javed also did not appear for a hearing on the case in May.

Uttar Pradesh Police said Javed was also involved in the riots sparked by the recent protests. Javed’s attorney, KK Roy, said the family who lived in the house only received a copy of the notification as of Friday evening (6/10/2022). Two days before the demolition, the building belonged to Javed’s wife, not his.

The demonstrations, which have spread across cities in north and east India, were sparked by blasphemy against the Prophet Mohammed by two BJP officials in May and June. The party suspended its spokesman and fired other officials over the comments.

Modi’s government says it condemns any form of insult to any religion. But critics say religious polarization has deepened in India since Modi came to power in 2014. Modi has not yet commented on the matter.

Although the Indian government is trying to defuse the anger of different countries by saying they respect all religions. Nupur Sharma and Naveen Kumar Jindal’s statements about the Prophet Mohammed continue to draw diplomatic criticism.

Last week, NDTV reported that at least 16 countries had lodged formal protests with India over the controversial statement. These countries include: Iraq, Iran, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Malaysia. United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bahrain, Maldives, Libya, Turkey and Indonesia.

Source: Reuters