Responding to reports of demolition of largely Muslim-owned shops and houses following incidents of communal violence during Ram Navami celebrations in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone district, Aakar Patel, Chair of Amnesty International India’s board, said:
“Over the last few days, the country has witnessed some deeply disturbing events related to anti-Muslim attacks and hate speech. On top of it, the authorities’ unlawful action of demolishing private property of people suspected of rioting, allegedly without notice or other due process requirements is a major blow to the rule of law. The majority of the demolished properties are owned by Muslims. Such punitive demolition of family homes of suspects could also amount to collective punishment, in violation of International Human Rights Law.
Such punitive demolition of family homes of suspects could also amount to collective punishment, in violation of International Human Rights Law.Aakar Patel, Chair of Amnesty International India’s board
“The authorities must urgently carry out a thorough, impartial and transparent investigation into the demolitions and ensure that those responsible for fanning violence and vandalism are brought to justice through fair trials. Victims must be provided with effective remedy. It is the duty of the state to protect all people within its jurisdiction, including minority communities.”
On April 11, a curfew was enforced in Khargone City in Madhya Pradesh after provocative slogans were allegedly raised near a mosque during Ram Navami celebrations, which led to a riot, stone pelting and violence.
In response, State Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan told media that the rioters had been identified and said the action taken against them “will not only be limited to arrests, the damages will be recovered from (their) private or public property.”
Less than 24 hours later, local authorities demolished the properties and homes of those who were allegedly involved in the violence, most of whom hail from economically disadvantaged Muslim families.