Muslims organisations, civil societies in India demand law to protect minorities | Pakistan News Digest

Muslims organisations, civil societies in India demand law to protect minorities

New Delhi (IINA) - Muslim organizations and civil society groups across the western Maharashtra state in India are demanding a strict law to counter mob lynching and attacks on minority groups.

Reinforcing the need for acts like India's Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the groups, including Muslim and Dalit organizations, have already led three Aman rallies in Pune, Latur, and Solapur. Another one is scheduled to be held on July 15 in Pune, according to media reports.

On Wednesday the Solapur rally saw around 500 people, from different walks of life, participating. They ended the march at the Collector's office, handing a letter to the district collector demanding the formulation of a law that protect Muslims.

One of the brains behind the Aman rally in Solapur was the father of Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh, a man who was beaten to death by a Hindu group in 2014. My son Mohsin was brutally lynched to death in June 2014 by right-wing organizations because he had a beard, said Shaikh. The murder took place in Pune soon after the Narendra Modi government came to power.

Seventeen out of the 21 accused who were arrested have gotten bail from the court till now if Muslims are protected by the act like Prevention of Atrocities Act, the killers of my son wouldn't have been able to roam scot-free. With the increasing number of attacks and mob lynching of minorities and that too mostly of Muslims, we need the protection of an act like the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, he added.

An organizer of the rally in Latur on July 5, which had some 200 people show up, belonging to the Swabhimani Muslim Vikas Sanghatana, Mohsin Khan, reiterated the need for a strict act since government, police, and minority commissions have proven ineffective in protecting Muslims.

Muslims are being targeted under the pretext of carrying or eating beef, transporting cows, circulating objectionable message against Hindu leaders and so on. If somebody commits a crime, then the police should take action, and a trial should be held in the court. Common men are attacking Muslims and Dalits, said Khan.

In Pune, more than 500 formed a human chain during the Aman rally on July 7. Like Solapur, they delivered a letter to the district collector for a similar law. We have seen mob lynching of Muslims from Mohsin Sadiq Shaikh in Pune, Akhlaq Khan in Uttar Pradesh and most recently Hafiz Junaid Khan, a 15-year-old boy in Uttar Pradesh. On this background, we want to act like Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe (Prevention of Atrocities) Act for minorities especially Muslims, said Anjum Inamdar, one of the organizers and president of the Rashtrapremi Kruti Samiti.

Besides, we also want the accused in the attacks and lynching of Muslims to be arrested and tried under an MCOCA like act, he said while demanding compensation for the families of the victims.

Mohammad Shabi, another organizer representing Jamat-e-Islami of India, said it was high time the minority community especially Muslims get legal protection from attacks and lynching as, currently, the whole Muslim population has been living under fear and pressure of attacks and death.

If we see the statistics, 97 percent of attacks and deaths due to the lynching of Muslims had taken place after 2014 when the BJP government came to power, he stressed. Till now 63 such attacks have taken place across the country. Nineteen people have died while 14 got injured in these attacks. And more than half of the 63 attacks have taken place in BJP-ruled states.

For the July 15 rally in Kondhwa, Pune, 15 Muslim social organizations, NGOs, and political parties have already given their support. Our country is known for communal harmony despite having many religions, said Razi Ahmad Khan of Popular Front of India. But the trend like mob lynching and attacks on Muslims under the pretext of carrying or transporting beef or other communal reasons is creating a rift in the society. Muslims do not feel secure anymore.

We are organizing this rally to demand their protection under a prevention of atrocity act in solidarity with other rallies, said Razi. He is expecting a turnout of more than 7-8,000 people.

Shehla Rashid, a human rights activist in India, emphasised that the violence against Muslims and Dalits were based on identity. If this violence is normalized then groups like Bajrang Dal will start attacking women in pubs and discos, she said. Though these attacks are against many groups, Muslims are the one who is being targeted at large extent. They have stopped eating meat at stalls and carrying it. We need to address this fear.

A supporter of India's Manay Suraksha Kanoon [MASUKA], Rashid said it was why they proposed Manav Suraksha Kanoon (MASUKA). Under this law violence against the vulnerable sections doesn't only include Muslims but all who are vulnerable, [and the offense is] non-bailable, she stressed.

Source: International Islamic News Agency


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