Indian courts succumb to Hindutva influence by passing anti-Muslim verdicts

Shumaila Andleeb

ISLAMABAD, June 19 (APP): The Indian judiciary, with its anti-Muslims verdicts, has become an instrument in the hands of the Narendra Modi government that continues to oppress minorities and deny them justice.

The time-to-time verdicts of Indian courts on religious matters have proved that the institution is openly siding with Hindutva and has failed the Muslim community.

This June, the Indian Supreme Court appeared as the “biggest tormentor of the minorities” after it refused to stop the government from razing houses of Muslims.

The top court said, “We cannot stop demolitions,” in response to a petition by a Muslim group in Uttar Pradesh who said that state government had been punishing members of India’s 200-million-strong Islamic minority for participating in protests.

Muslims in India are not facing such a situation for the first time as the history is replete with such incidents of state-sponsored persecution of Muslims particularly in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Delhi and Gujarat.

In another recent judgment to appease Hindutva, the Supreme Court of India held that “a mosque was not essential to Muslim mode of worship”.

According to experts, the Indian courts are now “just another extension of Hindutva” and the ruling on mosques gives credence to demolishing all mosques and mausoleums, particularly about 5,000 mosques built by the Muslim conquerors.

In a case of barring the Muslim girl students to wear hijab, the high court in India’s Karnataka in March stated that the head scarf was “not essential” to Islam.

In its oppressive decision, the three-judge bench held that allowing Muslim women to wear the hijab in classrooms would hinder their emancipation and go against the constitutional spirit of “positive secularism”.

In 2018, an Indian court overturned the conviction of senior Bharatia Janta Party (BJP) member Maya Kodnani who was sentenced to 28 years in jail for her part in the murder of 97 people in 2002 in the state of Gujarat. Her co-accused Bau Bajrangi also got relief in his sentence.

In Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid Blast case, a special court in 2018 acquitted all accused Including Swami Aseemanand In Hyderabad’s Mecca Masjid Blast case of 2007, that had resulted in killing of nine people and left 58 injured. All the accused belonged to organisations practising Hindutva ideology.

In Samjhauta Express case, a special court in 2019 acquitted all four men involved in bombing the train linking India and Pakistan. At least 64 people onboard Samjhauta Express were killed after a Hindu right-wing organisation had carried out an improvised explosive device (IED) blast in 2007.

For the notorious Hashimpura massacre of 42 Muslims by the Uttar Pradesh police itself, it took over 31 years for the guilty policemen to be convicted by the Delhi high court in 2018.

The culprits of the massacre of 72 Muslims in Maliyana are yet to be punished 34 years later also — the case has been adjourned 900 times.

In almost every communal riot of this country, whether it was Delhi (1984) or Delhi (2020), police have been found to let the minorities ‘suffer’ at the hands of the majority, or ‘punish’ them by implicating them in false cases.

Muslims in India still feel the pain of illegal demolition of Babari Masjid in 1992, where the Indian Supreme Court after 28 years of the incident in 2019, held that the site belonged to the birthplace of Lord Ram and awarded the land to a trust for construction of a temple in his name.

The ‘Justice Rajinder Sachar Committee Report, 2005’ also reveals the face of India “so-called secularism” saying that Muslims are seen as “anti-nationals” and every bearded man is seen as an ISI agent.

Also, it said that fake encounter killings take place and minorities particularly Muslims are subjected to ghettoisation and collectively alienated.

Wherein India continues with its policy of persecution through its State institutions, Pakistan on the other hand, is taking steps for the emancipation of religious minorities.

In an incident where a mob in Pakistan’s Karak town destroyed a Hindu temple, the Supreme Court in 2021 in a landmark decision ordered rebuilding of the religious site.

The top court ordered that Shri Paramhans Ji Maharaj Samadhi temple be rebuilt by the government and that expenses be charged to a local Muslim leader who was allegedly responsible for the mob violence that led to the damage.

In another act of vandalizing of a Hindu temple in Rahim Yar Khan this year, an anti-terrorism court in South Punjab sentenced 22 people to five years in jail.

Even at the head of State level, President Dr. Arif Alvi last year had taken serious notice of the harassment of a Hindu boy in Tharparkar, Sindh.

On the president’s direction, the Sindh police had arrested Abdul Salam Abu Daud, a Muslim, who had forced the boy to chant ‘ the slogans of Allah-o-Akbar’.