Indian authorities have demolished the house of a Muslim activist following his arrest by police for purportedly planning to stage protests against disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him).
AhlulBayt News Agency (ABNA): Indian authorities have demolished the house of a Muslim activist following his arrest by police for purportedly planning to stage protests against disparaging remarks about Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be upon Him).
On Sunday, civic authorities in Allahabad – officially known as Prayagraj, a city in the state of Uttar Pradesh – demolished the house of Javed Muhammed, who is an activist with the Welfare Party of India.
Authorities claimed the building was an illegal construction. They razed the house only a day after police arrested him for what they called hatching a conspiracy for violent protests in the metropolis against sacrilegious comments made by two officials of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) about the holy Prophet of Islam.
In remarks during a debate broadcast on the Times Now television channel on May 26, BJP spokeswoman Nupur Sharma made inflammatory comments against the Prophet. The remarks drew nationwide condemnation and triggered violent clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Kanpur.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party took no action against them until days later, when a sudden chorus of diplomatic outrage began, with many Muslim countries summoning Indian ambassadors over the matter.
The BJP suspended Sharma from the party on June 5, while distancing itself from her offensive remarks, issuing a rare statement, saying it “strongly denounces insult of any religious personalities.”
The party also dismissed Naveen Kumar Jindal, who heads its Delhi media, from the party, after he allegedly posted a tweet about the Prophet but later deleted it. The BJP said Jindal’s views on social media undermine communal harmony and are in violation of the party’s fundamental beliefs.
Officials of the Prayagraj Development Authority had asked Muhammed’s family early on Sunday to vacate the house by 11 a.m. local time, claiming they had also notified Muhammed on May 10 to appear for a hearing on May 24. They said the owner did not comply.
However, Somaiya Fatima, Muhammed’s younger daughter, said the family had not received any notice regarding the ‘illegality’ of their house. Furthermore, his lawyer questioned the legality of the demolition, saying the building belonged to his wife but her name did not appear in the order.
“This is the first notice that we got last night [Saturday],” the daughter said. “No one has even spoken to us about this before a day ago. If our property was truly illegal, then why did they not come and give us these notices early. This is an incredibly hard time for us.”
Police also arrested Somaiya Fatima and her mother late on Saturday, but they were released on Sunday morning.
While there are no provisions under Indian law to raze the home of anyone accused of committing a crime, this pattern, according to the Indian news website Scroll.in, has been regularly observed across the BJP-ruled states.
State BJP chief Swatantra Dev Singh supported the calls for demolition of the homes of persons accused of violence, saying on Twitter, “Those whose homes are in the shadow of bulldozers do not throw stones at others.”
The demolition came two days after raging protests held in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, Telangana, Jharkhand, among other places over the derogatory remarks.
The BJP’s desperate attempt to quell the anger by dismissing the pair as “fringe elements” who did not represent the government’s views has had few takers in the Muslim world.
Disciplinary action against members of the BJP has failed to put a lid on growing anger in India and the Muslim world.