Hyderabad: Panelists from different fields and organisations on Saturday emphasized upon the need for preserving democracy, promoting religious harmony, and addressing the issues related to media responsibility, law enforcement practices, and historical grievances to foster a more inclusive and equitable society in India.
A meeting on the topic of ‘Bulldozing Democracy, Hate Mongering and State Repression in India’ was organized by the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights (APCR)- Telangana.
The program aim was to discuss the issue of minority repression in different parts of India and was attended by distinguished members of civil society.
They said that In recent times, India has witnessed a disturbing surge in demolitions that have disproportionately affected minority communities.
“These actions, often carried out under the guise of urban development or infrastructure projects, have resulted in the forced displacement of marginalized communities leading to severe socio-economic and psychological ramifications,” The panel of discussion consisted of eminent members of civil society. During the meet they presented various points highlighting issues in different regions of India.
Taison Hussain, the General Secretary of ABMSU, expressed his concerns about the implementation of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam. He alleged that the NRC’s target is to remove minority Muslims from the voter list, which raises questions about potential discriminatory practices.
Moreover, he mentioned instances of evictions without proper re-evaluation of those affected, indicating possible violations of human rights.
Manavi Atri associated with Campaign Against Hate Speech in Karnataka highlighted the role of media in spreading alleged hate by telecasting live forced mass conversions without verifiable evidence of their locations.
She also emphasized the media’s involvement in manufacturing Hindutva narratives and conducting an Anti-Hijab campaign, calling for accountability measures against these media channels.
Prof. Apoorvanand Delhi University, Author and Columnist, referred to a case in Jalgaon where the city collector ordered prayers to be stopped in an 800-year-old Jumma Masjid, alleging that it was constructed by demolishing a Hindu temple.
“This incident raises issues of religious intolerance and communal tensions,”
He also said that the prevailing sentiment among certain Hindu communities, who believe that current Muslim oppression is justified due to historical mistreatment by the Mughals and during partition.
Dr. Amirullah Khan, Professor MCRHDI , stressed the importance of safeguarding democracy for India’s progress as a $5 Trillion economy and becoming a Vishwaguru (world leader). He argued that democracy encompasses much more than just the ability to vote, it entails protecting human rights, ensuring equal opportunities, and upholding the rule of law.
Nadeem Khan, Social Activist, Founder United Against Hate, raised concerns about the high number of encounters reported in Uttar Pradesh in 2017, indicating potential issues with law enforcement practices.
He also pointed out the competition among UP, MP, and Assam’s Chief Ministers in displaying a tough stance, possibly leading to harsh measures against citizens. Additionally, he highlighted the destruction of 576 places in Gujarat and the dissemination of provocative content like the “Kerala Story” in Kohlapur’s theaters, which has fueled hatred and communal tensions.
Berkat Ali Khan, President of APCR Telangana, has voiced grave concerns over the repressive actions reportedly taken by the authorities against disadvantaged and marginalized communities, resulting in the demolition of their homes and destruction of livelihoods. In India,
“the normalization of “bulldozer justice” has had a severe impact on minority communities, exacerbating their vulnerability. Urgent and strategic actions are required to address this issue and systematically relocate those facing forced evictions, thereby ensuring their safety and protection,”
APCR urged the Indian government, policymakers, and relevant authorities to take immediate notice of the pressing issue and engage in constructive dialogue with civil rights organizations and affected communities.
“The protection of minority rights is essential to uphold the principles of equality, justice, and inclusivity enshrined in the Indian Constitution,”