New Delhi (8 October 2015): The Uttar Pradesh government must do more to protect the rights of religious minorities in the state, Amnesty International India said today.

On 28 September, Mohammed Akhlaq, a 50-year-old Muslim man in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh was lynched by a mob allegedly after rumours that his family had eaten beef.

The Ministry of Home Affairs has stated that there were 68 communal incidents in Uttar Pradesh in the first six months of 2015. Kasganj and Saharanpur districts in the state witnessed clashes between Hindu and Muslim groups in June. In September, there was stone throwing, burning of vehicles and arson by Hindu and Muslim groups in the town of Gonda.

“There is an environment of mistrust and fear in parts of Uttar Pradesh,” said Abhirr VP, Campaigner at Amnesty International India.

“Political leaders continue to stoke tensions by justifying violence. The state government’s inability to check religious intolerance emboldens groups to carry out attacks.”

Parveen, the sister of Mohammad Akhlaq, told Amnesty International India, “We were living in peace here, but now we are scared. Our Muslim neighbors are all living in fear. ”

Cow slaughter is banned in Uttar Pradesh. The Uttar Pradesh police have arrested eight men in Dadri, and asked for legal action to be taken against political leaders who violated prohibitory orders and made speeches in the area after the killing.

“Arrests will not to be enough to ease communal tensions. The state government must address cases of incitement to violence, and ensure that self-appointed cow protection organizations do not act as vigilante groups,” said Abhirr V P.

“Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav must show that the state government is serious about making the state safe for people from all religions.

“His government must make public and act on the report of the Justice Vishnu Sahai commission on the 2013 communal violence in Muzaffarnagar, which was submitted last month. It must bring to justice all those involved in the violence, including political leaders, police, and administrative officials.”

Amnesty International India

https://www.amnesty.org.in/