Amnesty International has raised concerns about punitive demolitions aimed at properties owned by Muslims in India

by Abbas Adil

Amnesty International has published two recent reports uncovering punitive demolitions directed at properties belonging to Muslims in India, highlighting the extensive utilization of J.C. Bamford Excavators Limited (JCB) branded bulldozers.

Entitled “Bulldozer Injustice in India” and “JCB’s Role and Responsibility in Bulldozer Injustice in India,” the reports provide comprehensive accounts of the demolition of at least 128 properties during the period from April to June 2022.

According to Amnesty International, these bulldozer-led demolitions have left at least 617 individuals homeless or deprived of their means of livelihood.

The demolitions were reportedly carried out by authorities in five states—Assam, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, and Delhi—as a form of “punishment” following instances of religious violence or protests by Muslims against discriminatory government policies.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, governs in four out of the five states and has faced allegations of promoting anti-Muslim rhetoric.

This systematic abuse has resulted in the demolition of homes, businesses, and places of worship, leaving many families displaced and vulnerable.

The report calls on JCB to publicly condemn the misuse of its machinery for human rights violations and to implement robust human rights due diligence policies.

Amnesty International has urged New Delhi and state governments to immediately halt the de facto policy of demolishing people’s homes as a form of extra-judicial punishment.

Amnesty calls for JCB to issue a public condemnation against the utilisation of its machinery in perpetrating human rights violations in punitive demolitions targeting Muslim properties in India.

Furthermore, it urges JCB to utilise its influence to minimise the adverse consequences and establish comprehensive human rights due diligence policies.

Authorities have refuted allegations of targeting the Muslim community.

BJP leaders celebrate the demolitions, they assert that the demolition activities are aimed at addressing encroachments and targeting structures owned by criminals or gang members.

As the campaign gains momentum, individuals are urged to join the call for justice and stand in solidarity with those affected by the demolition drive.

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