‘Act of vendetta’: Afreen Fatima on her house bulldozed in India | Islamophobia News

New Delhi, India – A younger Muslim activist whose home was bulldozed by the authorities within the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh says it was an “act of vendetta” by the federal government for the protests over feedback made towards Prophet Muhammad by officers of the nation’s right-wing governing get together.

Surrounded by a big posse of police in riot gear, authorities in Uttar Pradesh’s Prayagraj metropolis on Sunday introduced in earthmovers to demolish Afreen Fatima’s home as dozens of media individuals recorded the demolition.

Inside hours, the two-storey constructing was lowered to rubble and its belongings – furnishings, books and images – thrown on an empty plot subsequent to the home. Amongst them was a poster that mentioned: “When injustice turns into regulation, resistance turns into obligation.”

Afreen Fatima house bulldozed
A bulldozer demolishes Fatima’s home on Sunday in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh, India [Ritesh Shukla/Reuters]

The demolition got here after days of protests by India’s Muslims towards the anti-Islam remarks by two members of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Occasion (BJP) earlier this month, triggering a diplomatic backlash towards New Delhi.

As a number of Muslim nations demanded an apology from the Indian authorities, the Muslims in India noticed the remarks by the BJP’s Nupur Sharma and former Delhi media cell head Naveen Kumar Jindal as one more occasion of the correct wing’s hate speech towards the minority group which has spiked since Modi got here to energy in 2014.

As world outrage grew, the BJP suspended Sharma and expelled Jindal, saying their feedback don’t replicate the get together’s views and asking its spokespeople to be “extraordinarily cautious” on spiritual issues whereas talking on information channels. In the meantime, police within the Indian capital filed circumstances towards the 2 and others for “inciting hatred” and different costs.

However Muslim teams mentioned the strikes weren’t sufficient and held massive protests in a number of cities after the congregational prayers on Friday, demanding the arrest of the duo. Two youngsters had been killed and dozens wounded within the protests. A whole lot of protesters had been arrested.

The protests in Prayagraj – earlier often known as Allahabad – on Friday following the Muslim congregational prayers turned violent at some locations, with police firing tear fuel and baton-charging as demonstrators marched and allegedly tried to burn a police automobile.

A BJP spokesperson mentioned Uttar Pradesh’s Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, a saffron-robed hardline Hindu monk, ordered officers to demolish any “unlawful” institutions and houses of individuals accused of involvement within the protests.

At the least two different homes belonging to Muslims had been additionally demolished in Uttar Pradesh on Sunday.

Afreen Fatima house bulldozed
Authorities declare the home was illegally constructed, however Fatima’s household rejects the allegation [Ritesh Shukla/Reuters]

‘Completely unlawful’

Fatima’s household was not even residence when their 20-year-old home in Prayagraj was torn down.

Hours after Friday protests within the metropolis, police raided the home and took away her 57-year-old father Mohammad Javed, mom Parveen Fatima, 52, and teenager sister Somaiya.

“At round 8:50pm on Friday, police got here, saying they wish to discuss to my father. They requested him to accompany him to the police station. That’s it. They didn’t inform us if it was a detention or if it was an arrest. There was no warrant that was proven,” Fatima, 24, informed Al Jazeera TV throughout an interview on Sunday.

Javed, who’s a politician belonging to a Muslim get together, was charged with rioting and the police quickly declared him the “mastermind” of the protests in Prayagraj – a tag flashed instantly on TV screens throughout the nation.

Parveen and Somaiya had been detained by the police and launched on Sunday morning. “My mom and my sister had been illegally detained for greater than 30 hours,” Fatima informed Al Jazeera TV.

Fatima rejected the allegations towards her father and known as the bulldozing of their home an unlawful act dedicated by the authorities.

“The demolition is totally unlawful as a result of it’s not even my father’s property. The home belongs to my mom,” she informed Al Jazeera over the phone.

“We had been paying our home taxes for round 20 years and never as soon as did we obtain any intimation by any improvement authorities of Allahabad that our home is against the law. Why had been they even taking our taxes if it was an unlawful home?” she informed Al Jazeera.

The household shared water payments and home taxation paperwork to again their declare.

Fatima mentioned the home was demolished and not using a court docket of regulation proving the costs towards her father. “With out proving the allegations that my father was a mastermind of protests, which he was not, they punished us,” she informed Al Jazeera.

We noticed our home crumble down… It was our residence for 21 years. We had some superb and defining moments in that residence that formed who I’m.

by Afreen Fatima, Muslim activist

“We weren’t demonstrating on Friday. None of us had been a part of the protests that occurred in Allahabad. We had been at our home, it was a Friday, so we supplied our prayers and had been in the home on a regular basis,” she mentioned.

Javed’s household has termed his arrest “unjust”, calling him an activist who had been engaged on civic issues with the Prayagraj administration.

“He would help the administration on so many civic and regulation and order issues. So this has come as a shock to us,” Javed’s son Mohammad Umam, 30, informed Al Jazeera. “He was not part of the protest nor did he know who the protesters had been or who organised them. The police are making up a fictitious story to implicate my father.”

On Saturday night time, metropolis officers pasted a discover on the doorway of their home, calling it an “unlawful construction that may be demolished on Sunday”. The discover requested the household to vacate the property earlier than the demolition.

“We noticed our home crumble down. We had lived all our lives there. It was our residence for 21 years. We had some superb and defining moments in that residence that formed who I’m,” mentioned Fatima. “It’s all so painful.”

The household’s legal professionals have moved the Allahabad Excessive Court docket difficult the demolition and demanding a penalty from the state authorities for the lack of property. Because the court docket was closed on Sunday, they may problem the demolition order earlier than it was performed.

The household’s petition to the excessive court docket says Javed was not the authorized proprietor of the home.

“Parveen Fatima was gifted the home by her father earlier than her marriage,” household counsel KK Roy informed Al Jazeera. “Below the Muslim Private Regulation Property Act, the husband can not have a share within the property of his spouse. Since Javed has no proper over the property as per regulation, the discover in his title is against the law. We have now challenged the discover and sought a penalty of a minimum of 10 crore rupees [$1.3m].”

Police justified the demolition, saying they adopted the prescribed course of. “The allegations are flawed. We utilized all of the due processes and after that took motion,” a police spokesperson informed Al Jazeera. A civic official was quoted within the native media as saying the home was an “unlawful construction” that was “constructed with out getting its map handed by the Prayagraj Improvement Authority”.

‘Collective punishment’

Fatima known as the bulldozing of her home “an act of vendetta towards her household”, including the demolition was a part of the insurance policies of the Hindu nationalist authorities towards Muslims exercising their democratic proper to protest.

The authorities in Uttar Pradesh bulldozed two different Muslim homes in Saharanpur district over the weekend, whereas the home of one other Muslim in Kanpur metropolis was demolished over the spiritual riots over remarks towards the Prophet.

“Keep in mind, each Friday is adopted by a Saturday,” Mrityunjay Kumar, media adviser to Chief Minister Adityanath, tweeted on Saturday with a photograph of a bulldozer.

Adityanath is commonly dubbed “bulldozer baba” (bulldozer monk) by the native media for his coverage of demolishing houses of those that protest towards the federal government. Different states have adopted go well with at the same time as legal professionals and activists have questioned the coverage’s legality.

Afreen Fatima house bulldozed
Fatima says the demolition was unlawful as a result of the home didn’t even belong to her father [Ritesh Shukla/Reuters]

The demolition of properties gathered tempo in April this 12 months when authorities in neighbouring Madhya Pradesh state – additionally dominated by the BJP – bulldozed homes and outlets belonging to Muslims following spiritual violence throughout a Hindu competition.

“Bulldozer has develop into a signifier of focused violence towards Muslims in India, with demolitions being deployed not as punishment of a person for violation of regulation, however as a type of collective punishment that seeks to demoralise and deter anybody who questions the federal government or their majoritarian politics,” Fawaz Shaheen, a authorized activist related to College students Islamic Organisation of India, informed Al Jazeera.

On Sunday, as police and administration started to shut in on Fatima’s home, Indian social media was full of outrage as individuals expressed their solidarity with Fatima and her household by way of hashtag #StandwithAfreenFatima.

Social media customers questioned the silence of the opposition events, asking why their leaders and supporters didn’t protest in Prayagraj to cease the demolition or tweeted about it. Many additionally requested why the Muslim legislators within the Uttar Pradesh Meeting weren’t talking out.

Fatima rose to prominence throughout nationwide protests led by Muslim teams to demand the repeal of a controversial citizenship regulation handed by the Modi authorities in late 2019, which critics mentioned violated India’s secular structure. The regulation fast-tracked Indian citizenship for non-Muslim minorities from India’s neighbouring nations who got here to India earlier than 2015.

Fatima, related to a pupil group known as the Fraternity Motion, was elected president of the ladies’s school college students union on the Aligarh Muslim College, India’s largest minority establishment primarily based in Uttar Pradesh. She completed her masters in linguistics final 12 months from New Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru College, the place she was elected councillor within the college students’ union.

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