Monday, March 20, 2017

Adityanath must withdraw "inflammatory" anti-minority statements, demands Amnesty, keeps mum on Modi

By Our Representative
Top international human rights organization, Amnesty International, has demanded that the new Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, Yogi Adityanath, “must publicly withdraw” his previous inflammatory statements against Muslims, Christians and other religious minorities.

Pointing out that “Adityanath has called for India to become a Hindu state”, Amnesty in a statement says, “He has also made polarizing statements claiming ‘love jihad’ – an alleged conspiracy by Muslim men to seduce Hindu women and convert them to Islam.”
Interestingly, however, Amnesty does not seek to recall how Prime Minister Narendra Modi allegedly played the divisive card in order to win the elections in Uttar Pradesh. Modi's reference to smashan (cremation ground) being neglected at the expense of kabristan (graveyard) set the tone during the polls. Worse, the Election Commission, too, did not object to such a reference, which was the first by any Indian Prime Minister.
Saying that Adityanath faces “criminal charges in multiple cases, including attempt to murder, criminal intimidation, rioting, promoting enmity between different groups, and defiling a place of worship” and in 2007 “he was detained for 15 days for allegedly inciting riots in Gorakhpur”, the statement recalls, “In 2014, Adityanath was reprimanded by the Election Commission of India for an election speech.”
Stating that in the previous year, over 60 people, mostly Muslims, had been killed in the communal riots in Muzaffarnagar, Uttar Pradesh, Amnesty notes, the Election Commission called Adityanath’s speech “had the effect of provoking feelings of enmity or hatred” and “aggravating the existing differences or create mutual hatred or cause tension between different castes and communities.”
In 2016, Amnesty says, Adityanath had demanded that “the family of a Muslim man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, who had been lynched for allegedly consuming beef should face criminal charges.”
Amnesty further says, the same year, Adityanath had said, the “incidents of ‘Christianization’ had led to separatist movements in north-east India” and in 2015, “he said that if he was given the chance, he would install idols of Hindu gods in every mosque.”
Worse, Amnesty says, “In an undated video uploaded in August 2014, he had said, ‘If [Muslims] take one Hindu girl, we’ll take 100 Muslim girls. If they kill one Hindu, we’ll kill 100 Muslims’.”
Pointing out that “Adityanath is also the founder of the Hindu Yuva Vahini, an organization that has often been accused of instigating communal tension”, Amnesty says, “The organization has been implicated in several incidents of communal violence.”
Calling Adityanath as “one of Uttar Pradesh’s most polarizing politicians, given to hateful rhetoric that incites discrimination and hostility against minority groups, particularly Muslims,” Aakar Patel, executive director, Amnesty International India, says, “As chief minister of India’s most populous state, he and his party have an obligation to ensure that his positions do not become government policy.”
“It is therefore imperative that he retracts any statements which may provide a license for others to abuse human rights”, Patel, who is also a well-known journalist and blogger, said.
“Adityanath’s toxic ideas must not become part of his governance. By demonizing Muslims, he has increased religious divisions and put ordinary people at risk of discrimination, hostility and violence. As the head of the Uttar Pradesh government, he must disown his poisonous statements, and ensure that his administration respects the rights of people of all faiths,” said Aakar Patel.

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