AI urges Indian authorities to stop unlawful demolition of Muslims’ properties

New York, April 14 (KMS): Global rights watchdog, Amnesty International has urged the Indian authorities to stop the unlawful demolitions of largely Muslim-owned properties in Khargone city of the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh.

Dozens of shops and houses owned by Muslims have been demolished following incidents of communal violence during Ram Navami celebrations in Khargone.

Reacting to the anti-Muslim move, Aakar Patel, the Chair of Amnesty International India chapter, in a statement said over the last few days, the country has witnessed some deeply disturbing events related to anti-Muslim attacks and hate speech. “On top of it, 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. 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,” he said.

Aakar 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.”

On April 11, a curfew was enforced in Khargone city in Madhya Pradesh after provocative slogans were raised by Hindutva near a mosque during celebration of Hindu festival Ram Navami that led to violence.

In response, State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told the media that the rioters had been identified and said the action taken against them “will not only be limited to arrests, the damages will be recovered from (their) private or public property.”

Less than 24 hours later, local authorities demolished the properties and homes of those who were allegedly involved in the violence, most of whom hail from economically disadvantaged Muslim families.

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