Amnesty International has released two new reports documenting the targeting of homes, businesses and places of worship in several states belonging to minority communities, and has issued two new reports documenting the targeting of homes, businesses and places of worship in several states belonging to minority communities, calling on Indian authorities to “protect” Muslim property. They called for an immediate halt to the illegal demolition.
Human rights groups say the demolition is a form of extrajudicial punishment, and there is no guarantee that all those affected by the demolition, which left hundreds of people, most of them Muslim, homeless and whose livelihoods were destroyed, will be fully compensated. requested.
The London-based rights group also called out construction machinery company JCB, whose bulldozers are widely used in “punitive” demolition, to “publicly condemn it for using its machinery to commit human rights abuses”. ” he asked.
The main points of the report are:
What does the press say about India’s bulldozer politics?
The two reports, titled ‘India’s Bulldozer Fraud’ and ‘JCB’s Role and Responsibility in India’s Bulldozer Fraud’, document the demolition of at least 128 properties between April and June 2022. . Amnesty International says the demolition carried out by bulldozers has at least caused more damage. 617 people were made homeless or had their livelihoods destroyed.
According to the report, authorities in five states – Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi – have responded to protests by Muslims against religious violence and discriminatory government policies. It is said that the building was demolished as a “punishment”. Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP), which has been accused of using anti-Muslim rhetoric, rules four of the five states.
Agnes Callamard, Director General of Amnesty International, said: “The illegal destruction of Muslim property by Indian authorities, touted as ‘bulldozer justice’ by political leaders and the media, is cruel and horrifying…They have destroyed families… It must be stopped immediately because it is causing destruction.” in a statement Wednesday.
“Authorities have repeatedly violated the rule of law and destroyed homes, businesses, and places of worship through targeted hatred, harassment, violence, and the weaponization of JCB bulldozers. These human rights violations must be urgently addressed. I have to.”
Last month, bulldozed Muslim homes and properties in the financial capital of Mumbai after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s inauguration of the Ram Temple in Ayodhya, in northern Uttar Pradesh state, escalated gang violence. The temple was built on the site of the 16th-century Babri Mosque until Hindu mobs destroyed the mosque in 1992.
Last year, more than 300 Muslim properties were demolished after gang violence on the outskirts of India’s capital, New Delhi. In 2021, a 100-year-old mosque was demolished in Uttar Pradesh’s Barabanki district, and in 2023, a 16th-century mosque was demolished in Prayagraj city, also in Uttar Pradesh, under a road widening project.
Analysts say bulldozers have been used to destroy Muslims in India, especially since Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, known for his anti-Muslim bigotry, began a policy of destroying the property of criminal suspects in order to deliver instant justice. He says that it has come to symbolize the oppression of people. But legal experts say the biggest casualty of this new phenomenon among the Hindu far right is due process.
Since Mr. Modi became prime minister in 2014, attacks on Muslims and their livelihoods have increased, with dozens of Muslims lynched on suspicion of cow smuggling.
What is the BJP government saying?
The demolition has been widely celebrated by Bharatiya Janata Party leaders, with bulldozers appearing at campaign events for ruling party candidates. They argue that the demolition drills oppose trespassing and target buildings owned by criminals and gangs.
Authorities deny that the Muslim community was targeted.
Following the August demolition, BJP spokesperson Raman Malik told Al Jazeera that bulldozing would only be used to remove illegal encroachments. But human rights groups said overwhelmingly Muslim properties were targeted.
Are bulldozers legal?
Civil society members, activists, and opposition politicians believe the destruction of the building was a deliberate act of violence against minority communities, including Muslims.
Brinda Karat of the Communist Party of India opposed the demolition in Delhi, saying bulldozers were being used to deliberately target Muslims in the name of removing encroachments.
Amnesty International said in its report that the demolition was carried out without following due process. The building’s occupants were not given any warning before the demolition and were not given sufficient time to leave the site and retrieve their belongings. Amnesty International interviewed 75 survivors of the demolition site. Of these, only six companies received some form of advance notice from the authorities.
“The question also arises whether buildings belonging to a particular community are being demolished in the name of buildings belonging to a certain community being demolished. [a] Law and order problems and practices of ethnic cleansing are being carried out by the state,” the Punjab and Haryana High Court said following the demolition in Nuh on the outskirts of New Delhi.
The court also established that proper legal procedures were not followed before the demolition drive. No advance notice was given to those who lost property.
Amnesty’s report states that India is a party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) and respects the right to a decent life, including the right to adequate housing, under the Covenant. He said he had an obligation to fulfill the obligation. The right to work and receive social security. ”
Is bulldozer company JCB responsible?
Amnesty International has found that bulldozers manufactured by the UK-based company Joseph Cyril Bamford Excavators (JCB) are often used for such demolition work.
The report added that in India, ‘JCB’ and ‘bulldozer’ are used interchangeably as JCB bulldozers are highly visible at demolition sites. Punitive bulldozing using JCB machinery has been praised among BJP leaders. In April 2022, BJP spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao referred to JCB as a “Jihad Control Board” in a now-deleted X post.
“Based on international standards, JCB has a responsibility to address the conduct of third-party purchasers using its equipment. , the company must stop looking the other way… JCB cannot continue to escape responsibility while its machines are repeatedly used to commit human rights abuses,” Amnesty’s Callamard said. “The company must publicly condemn the use of its machines to commit human rights abuses.”
Amnesty International cited the United Nations’ Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, which state that state-owned enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights and should avoid being complicit in human rights abuses. The report said JCB has a responsibility to determine whether its machines have been used for punitive destruction and to add clauses to its sales contracts mitigating human rights violations.
In response to Amnesty International’s message against JCB, a law firm acting on behalf of Amnesty International put forward several arguments to distance JCB from human rights abuses in India.
The company said there is no direct link between JCB and the alleged human rights violations, adding that most of its machines are sold by JCB India through independent third-party dealers.
The law firm also stated that JCB cannot control the use of its products once sold to a customer and that JCB does not have any influence over the people who use its products or its dealer network. Ta.
This is not the first time Amnesty International has accused JCB of complicity in human rights abuses. In November 2021, another Amnesty International report revealed dozens of specific incidents in which Israeli authorities used JCB machines to destroy Palestinian homes and farm buildings. JCB denied selling the machines to the Israeli government or to contractors doing demolition work in Palestine.