India court sentences 16 police to life for killing 42 Muslims

Hindu fanatics are seen demolishing the Babri Mosque in 1992, five years after clashes with Muslims in which 350 people died. On Oct.31, 2018, an Indian court sentenced 16 police officers to life imprisonment massacring dozens of unarmed Muslims during the 1987 riots in the country’s north. (Video grab from an HTV video via YouTube)
Updated 01 November 2018
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India court sentences 16 police to life for killing 42 Muslims

  • The officers were found guilty of shooting 42 men and tossing their bodies into canals DURING violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus in 1987
  • Months of rioting over the Babri Mosque, where Hindus believe a temple was once built to Lord Ram, left an estimated 350 dead in 1987

NEW DELHI: : An Indian court Wednesday sentenced 16 police officers to life imprisonment for rounding up and massacring dozens of unarmed Muslims during historic riots in the country’s north decades ago.
The officers were found guilty of shooting 42 men and tossing their bodies into canals, in one of the bloodiest moments of violent clashes between Muslims and Hindus in 1987.
A lower court had acquitted the officers from a special branch of Uttar Pradesh’s police force in 2015 for a lack of evidence.
But a two-judge bench of the Delhi High Court overturned that decision, saying they conducted a “targeted killing of unarmed and defenseless people.”
The court found them guilty of criminal conspiracy, kidnapping, murder and the destruction of evidence, the Press Trust of India reported.
Grisly photographs submitted as evidence to the court showed lines of Muslim men kneeling at gunpoint as uniformed police stood guard, rifles at the ready in what came to be known as the “Hashimpura massacre.”
The policemen, all of whom have retired, have been asked to surrender to authorities before November 22.
Uttar Pradesh has a long history of violence between its majority Hindu population and a sizeable Muslim minority.
The Hashimpura massacre was one of the deadliest incidents in a long-running feud over a religious site in Ayodhya considered sacred by Muslims and Hindus.
Months of rioting over the Babri Mosque, where Hindus believe a temple was once built to Lord Ram, left an estimated 350 dead in 1987.
In 1992, the centuries-old mosque was razed by Hindu nationalists, sparking further violence that killed more than 2,000.
The murder of Hindu pilgrims returning by train from Ayodhya in 2002 triggered revenge attacks on Muslims in Gujarat state that left more than 700 dead by government estimates.
Hindu groups have lobbied India’s top court to consider their claim to build a temple on the site, but the case been adjourned until January.


Sri Lanka rejects plans for $10m Shariah university

Updated 21 May 2019
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Sri Lanka rejects plans for $10m Shariah university

  • Madrasas to be absorbed by Ministry of Education in wake of Easter Sunday attacks
  • More than 100 arrests have been made following the rioting. A curfew has been lifted and life is returning to normal

COLOMBO: Sri Lankan Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe on Tuesday refused permission for a planned $10 million (SR37.5 million) Shariah university in one of the country’s main cities.

And in the wake of the deadly Easter Sunday terror attacks on hotels and churches, the premier also announced that all madrasas would be brought under the umbrella of Sri Lanka’s Education Ministry.

The latest moves by the Sri Lankan government follow widespread unrest on the island, with anti-Muslim riots having caused damage running into millions of dollars.

Wickremesinghe’s orders came after a fact-finding report into the university compiled by MP Ashu Marasinghe. He recommended that the institution, being constructed at Batticaloa, in the Eastern Province, should be privately operated and titled Batticaloa Technology University. The new education complex is located close to the township of Kattankudy where suspected ringleader of the Easter Sunday suicide bombings, Zahran Hashim, lived and preached his messages of hate and violence.

The Sri Lankan government analyst’s department said on Tuesday that DNA tests proved Hashim died in the attack at the Shangri-La hotel in Colombo.

President’s Counsel, Ali Sabry, a prominent lawyer and political analyst, told Arab News on Tuesday that the premier’s announcement was welcome.

“We don’t need a Shariah university at this juncture when there is a lot of suspicions on various Islamic topics that need to be clarified by Islamic theologians following the suicide attacks by Muslim extremists,” Sabry said. He stressed that the country’s main focus should be on strengthening ways to ensure peaceful coexistence among all communities.

The Sri Lankan University Grants Commission had a set of guidelines to license new universities, and Wickremesinghe’s latest recommendations would also be included among the requirements for a new university, Sabry added.

The prime minister’s ruling on madrasas (Islamic seminaries) would provide more transparency on the activities of the institutions, he said. “Their curriculum and their co-curricular activities should maintain a common standard and these madrasas should prepare the students to make them fit into society instead of just learning Arabic and Islam only.”

M.R.M. Malik, director of the Muslim Affairs Ministry in Colombo, told Arab News that currently all madrasas function under his ministry. “There are 317 madrasas throughout the island with an estimated 25,000 students. In addition to the local teachers, there are 38 Arabic teachers and 85 foreign students,” he said.

Most of the teachers are from Egypt, Pakistan and India, while many of the overseas students studying at the madrasas are from Libya, Pakistan, Jordan and India.

Sri Lanka Muslim Council President N.M. Ameen told Arab News that the local community had never wanted a Shariah university. However, he said the proposed curriculum for the madrasas should be constructed in consultation with Islamic scholars and the Muslim community.

Meanwhile, Western Province Gov. Azath Salley, revealed that damage caused by anti-Muslim riots had reached nearly Rs900 million (SR19.2 million). The governor was speaking to Arab News following a visit to some of the worst-affected villages on the island.

“Speaking to the families of the vandalized properties, it’s clear that an organized gang had attacked these earmarked properties owned by Muslims,” said Salley. “One child, whose father was killed in his presence, is still in a state of utter shock and dismay.” He added that turpentine oil had been poured on the face of the dead carpenter by his killers and set on fire.

The governor urged the authorities to bring the attackers to justice. He added that the government would provide compensation to victims of wrecked properties.

Police spokesman Ruwan Gunasakera said that more than 100 arrests had been made following the rioting, and that a curfew had been lifted and life was returning to normal.