India urged to end demolition of Muslim homes as 'punishment' for Hindu clashes

India urged to end demolition of Muslim homes as 'punishment' for Hindu clashes
Amnesty International has described the Indian's destruction of Muslim homes as 'punitive'.
3 min read
14 April, 2022
Muslims in India have repeatedly been targeted by right-wing Hindu nationalist mobs [Getty]

Amnesty International has urged the Indian government to halt its destruction of Muslim homes in a town, following multiple communal clashes between Hindus and Muslims over the weekend.

The human rights group said that the raising of the homes in Khargone, Madhya Pradesh would be a "punitive" action and follows violence among India's two largest religious groups, which has been blamed by many on right-wing Hindu nationalists.

The planned displacements by the Indian government follow a similar pattern by New Delhi's new ally Israel, which regularly destroys the family homes of Palestinian terror suspects.

"The authorities’ unlawful action of demolishing private property of people suspected of rioting, allegedly without notice or other due process requirements is a major blow to the rule of law," said Amnesty International's India chief Aakar Patel

"The majority of the demolished properties are owned by Muslims. Such punitive demolition of family homes of suspects could also amount to collective punishment, in violation of International Human Rights Law."

A Hindu-nationalist rally in Khargone on Sunday turned violent when Hindus and Muslims clashed and threw stones at each other, injuring at least 24 people.

Hindu extremists then attacked Muslims and burned down a mosque while police reportedly stood by.

The state government in response demolished dozens of Muslim homes in the town. According to the Indian Express, 16 houses and 29 shops in five localities were leveled on Monday.

The state's home minister Narottam Mishra, who is from the right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said at the time that "we will turn the houses from where the stones were pelted to a heap of rubble".

Patel said: "The authorities must urgently carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the demolitions and ensure that those responsible for fanning violence and vandalism are brought to justice through fair trials."

"Victims must be provided with effective remedy. It is the duty of the state to protect all people within its jurisdiction, including minority communities."

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The attacks on Muslims came amid right-wing rallies 'celebrating' the Hindu festival of Ram Navami – which commemorates the birth of Lord Ram, one of the chief Hindu deities.

Mobs provoked Muslims by chanting Islamophobic or violent slogans and in some incidents rallies deliberately halted outside mosques.

Attacks against Muslims have ramped up recently in India as dozens of Islamophobic or communal incidents are being reported each month.