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India’s minority commission accuses police of abetting anti-Muslim riots

This year in New Delhi, dozens of protesters (mostly Muslims) were killed and hundreds were injured in the worst communal violence– File photo

The Delhi Minority Commission, a government-appointed body formed to promote the rights of religious minorities in India, said that Delhi police failed to protect Muslims protesting against the controversial citizenship law during the communal riots that took place this year.

Dozens of protesters (mostly Muslims) were killed and hundreds were injured in the worst communal violence that rocked the Indian capital after it introduced the incendiary Citizenship Amendment Act a few months ago.

The commission presented its fact-finding report, which stated that Muslim properties and assets such as homes, vehicles, and shops were selectively targeted during the rioting period, showing bias against only one minority group.

In the report, the commission pointed out several incidents where Delhi police officers were present as a spectator, whose inaction led to an exacerbation of the riots.

Text snippet from DMC fact-finding report

The report said that in all, 11 mosques, five madrasas or religious schools, a Muslim shrine and a graveyard were attacked.

It is pertinent to mention that the incident coincided with the visit of US President Donald Trump at the beginning of 2020.

CAA and protests

Last year, the Indian government introduced the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), which makes it easier for non-Muslims from the neighbouring countries of Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who settled in India prior to 2015 to gain Indian citizenship.

Thousands of people had protested, saying the law was anti-Muslim and a part of the measures by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government to marginalise the community.

“This bill is in line with India’s centuries old ethos of assimilation and belief in humanitarian values,” Prime Minister Narendra Modi had tweeted after the bill was passed, adding that he was “delighted” about its passage. But to Muslim organisations, rights groups and others, the bill is part of Modi’s push to marginalise India’s 200-million-strong Islamic minority. 

The CAA followed the revocation of the special status of the Muslim-majority Kashmir region, and a court ruling clearing the way for the construction of a Hindu temple on the site of a mosque razed by Hindu zealots.

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