According to the BBC, a video showing Indian police assaulting a group of Muslims in detention was uploaded by an elected member of the ruling BJP party who applauded their cruel acts as a “gift” to the guys.
There has been no action taken against the cops involved. Families of the victims insist their loved ones are innocent and should be released. “This is my brother; they are severely assaulting him and he is screaming.”
Zeba sobs, her hands quivering, as she clutches her phone to view a terrible video of her younger brother Saif. The disturbing video shows two Indian cops shooting at a group of Muslim men in prison, including Zeba’s brother.
Officers may be seen pounding the males with rods that they swing around like baseball bats. Screams interrupt the sound of the thwack as each hit falls. Saif, 24, was one of scores of Muslim males arrested and jailed by police last week.
Thousands of people protested outside the town’s mosque after Friday prayers, joining countrywide demonstrations over blasphemous statements made by Nupur Sharma, a national spokesman for the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Following an uproar from Muslim countries, the party suspended her and stated that it condemned offending any faith. Protests in Saharanpur were mostly calm, with people walking from the mosque past downtown stores.
As emotions grew, some stores owned by India’s Hindu majority were assaulted, resulting in minor injuries to two businessmen. Some of the throng were dispersed by officers using batons.
According to police records, Saif and 30 others are accused of rioting, inciting violence, voluntarily inflicting harm to discourage a public official, and risking life, among other things.
The family, who makes a living selling cardboard, claims Saif was not even present at the protests and is completely innocent. The video, which plainly depicts police violence, went viral when it was tweeted by Shalabh Tripathi, an elected politician from the BJP, who captioned it “a return present for the rebels.”
Tripathi is a former communications adviser to Yogi Adityanath, the chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, the state where this incident occurred. The clip has received no censure from party officials or anyone in the BJP government.
Human rights organisations believe there has been an increase in intolerance in India since the BJP came to power in 2014, with an increase in hate speech and violence against the country’s Muslim minority.
The BBC has obtained evidence from a half-dozen Muslim families who claim their relatives were abused in police custody after being seized on Friday at the Kothwali police station in Saharanpur.
Officials said they have detained 84 people in connection with the Friday protests. Across town from the police station, the weight of the law has been demonstrated in other ways: bulldozers have demolished sections of the homes of two Muslim men accused of inciting violence by officials. Millions of Indians live in temporary dwellings without formal planning licenses, but the BJP is increasingly using this as a form of punishment.
Orders to destroy unlawfully built houses belonging to individuals convicted in recent protests have been approved at the highest levels. In a nod to Friday worshippers, his media adviser Mrityunjay Kumar tweeted a photo of a bulldozer with the comment “After Friday, there is a Saturday.”
A digger came at Muskaan’s residence on Saturday afternoon and began tearing down the entrance fence. A group of India’s top legal experts, including former judges and famous attorneys, has petitioned the country’s Supreme Court in response to the latest cases of police brutality and the unjustified use of bulldozers.