Prominent Muslim student leader Afreen Fatima, whose family house in Allahabad was bulldozed following her father Javed Mohammed’s arrest in connection with a protest against Islamophobic remarks in the city, and other student leaders Thursday urged the authorities to stop political vendetta against Muslim protesters.
The student leaders were speaking at a press conference organised by the Fraternity Movement in the national capital.
“I stand in absolute solidarity with all Muslim families whose houses have been demolished… Whatever has happened with my father, Janaab Javed Mohammed Sahab, and with my family and to our house, is known to everyone,” said Afreen who is also a national secretary of the Fraternity Movement.
Afreen appeared via Zoom and said she and her community would not be silenced despite “threats.”
“No matter how much you try to scare and threaten us, or trouble us by putting us in jail, we will not keep quiet or be silenced, nor are we going to disappear from this country,” she said.
Recent illegal arrests and bulldozer attacks on Afreen Fathima’s family are part of a new trend of silencing Muslim leaders to create despair in the people of that community, said Fraternity Movement in a released press statement on Thursday.
“The ruling party decided to take vengeance on the Muslims for its humiliation abroad. Two Muslim teenagers were killed, hundreds were illegally detained and several dozens of Muslim-owned houses were demolished. Several chilling videos of police officials brutally assaulting Muslim protestors were documented and reported by media organisations. Thousands of Muslim youths were arrested under serious, non-bailable charges while Nupur Sharma and Naveen Jindal were offered security by the state,” read the statement.
“We demand an impartial judicial enquiry into the demolition of Javed Mohammed’s house among other houses razed down as a collective punishment, as gloated by government officials and ruling party leaders,” it stated.
“Uttar Pradesh government has taken outside their bulldozer and they have decided to suppress all the voices of dissent, especially Muslim community”, said the national president of the student organisation, Shamseer Ibrahim.
He demanded that the democratic society of the country raise its voice strongly to declare its solidarity with the family of Afreen Fathima and all those people whose houses have been demolished so far
Speakers include Fraternity national general secretary Muhammed Asim Khan, national vice-president Abul Ala Subhani, Students Islamic Organisation of India national secretary Fawas Shaheen, student activists Ladeeda Farzana, Kawalpreet Kaur, and Raniya Zulaikha questioned the legality of the demolition of Muslim houses and urged the arrest of the perpetrators behind the demolition.
The student body leaders also told reporters that Sarah Ahmed Siddiqui, president of the Fraternity Movement Allahabad unit is also targeted and vilified by right-wing news channels. “Reports suggest that she is named as a conspirator of the protest on 10 June in Allahabad. We condemn the media trial and extend unconditional solidarity to Sarah and her family,” they said.
Supreme Court, on the same day, heard the plea by Jamia Ulama-I-Hind seeking directions to the state of Uttar Pradesh to ensure that no further demolitions take place in the state without following due process. The Supreme court bench mentioned that the “demolitions have to be according to the law, they cannot be retaliatory”.
Expressing concerns over the Supreme court’s comment, Ladeeda Farzana, told the reporters that the court did not stop the demolition and she expects the top court will “ban the demolishing of Muslim homes”.