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Indian high court blocks AJ investigation on Hindu crimes against Muslims

The probe revealed “out of sight” detention camps for what has been described as “illegal immigrants”.

The Allahabad High Court in India ordered the blocking of Al Jazeera Arabic’s latest probe into Hindu crimes against Muslims in the country, the broadcaster announced on Wednesday.

In its latest episode on 2 June, Al Jazeera Arabic’s investigative series, “Distance Zero”, provided disturbing details into the systematic violence Indian Muslims face in the country.

عاجل | المحكمة العليا بولاية أوتار براديش الهندية تحظر استقصائي #الجزيرة "الهند..من أشعل الفتيل" بدعوى تحريضه على الكراهية

— الجزيرة – عاجل (@AJABreaking) June 14, 2023

Titled “India…Who Lit the Fuse?”, the investigation shared shocking testimonies from victims of the Islamic faith in India. It also revealed the “secret plans” of a Hindu organisation targeting Muslims in several parts of the country.

The Indian court said the probe “incites hatred” and ordered the government to take the “necessary measures” to ensure that the documentary will not be published “unless its contents are examined by the authorities and the necessary authorisation is obtained”, Al Jazeera reported.

A hearing on the case is scheduled to take place on 6 July.

The Qatar-based broadcaster has yet to issue a full statement on the matter.

In January this year, the Indian also blocked a BBC documentary on the deadly Guajarat riots in 2002 which aimed at “purging” Muslims from Hindu areas. The BBC found that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was “directly responsible” for the “climate of impunity” that fuelled the violence. 

The documentary further claimed that the riots contained “all the hallmarks of an ethnic cleansing.”

Endemic Islamophobia

Echoing previous investigations into the endemic Islamophobia in India, the Al Jazeera probe provided chilling details into the targeting of around 100 million Muslims by Hindu groups.

Some of the disturbing findings include beatings, burning of houses and arrests among other harrowing methods of torture Muslims in India have been subjected to.

Al Jazeera managed to unveil plans by a Hindu organisation in Assam, located on Bangladesh’s border, to target Muslims. In the same area, a new citizenship law was introduced to enable the expulsion of hundreds of thousands of Muslims from India.

It further revealed “out of sight” detention camps for what has been described as “illegal immigrants”, with seven centres in Assam holding an unknown number of Muslims. To date, a number of detained Muslims are awaiting a court decision, which could include deportations.

Various victims from the camps offered their testimonies to Al Jazeera’s team, describing the centres as prisons. 

Meanwhile, structures belonging to Muslims in Madhya Pradesh, Central India, are being demolished by the state under the guise of of law and order. Activists told Al Jazeera that the Indian police often turn a blind eye to violence, rape and genocide committed against Muslims.

The film shared exclusive evidence of Hindu extremist camps aimed at targeting Muslims.

The Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) hails the Hindutva ideology, portraying India as a Hindu nation. The ideology has been described as a variant of far-right extremism which adheres to the concept of a homogenised majority. 

In 2016, BJP Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, Anantkumar Hegde, controversially claimed that “as long as there is Islam in the world, there will be terrorism”.

Muslim-majority areas in Jammu and Kashmir continue to be oppressed by Indian authorities who employ discriminatory restrictions, including limiting access to information, health care and education.

Last year, a mass crackdown on Muslims prompted a boycott campaign targeting Indian products in Qatar.

During the same year, Human Rights Watch (HRW) issued a report detailing “summary punishment” of Muslims in India.

“Officials blatantly disregarding the rule of law are sending a message to the public that Muslims can be discriminated against and attacked,” Meenakshi Ganguly, South Asia director at HRW, said last year.