'Ignorant': Amnesty Slams Boris Johnson's Visit to JCB Factory Amidst Demolitions

The UK PM was also seen posing for pictures atop a bulldozer, a day after bulldozers carried out an "anti-encroachment" drive in communal violence-hit Jahangirpuri.

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New Delhi: In a series of tweets, the Indian wing of rights organisation Amnesty International lambasted UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson for his “ignorant” visit to inaugurate a factory of heavy machinery manufacturer JCB near Gujarat’s Vadodara on Thursday, April 21.

“In the backdrop of Municipal Corporation of Delhi using JCB bulldozers to raze down shops of Muslims in Northwest Delhi’s Jahangirpuri yesterday, UK Prime Minister’s inauguration of a JCB factory in Gujarat is not only ignorant but his silence on the incident is deafening,” the human rights body tweeted.

Amnesty on Twitter criticised Johnson’s “deafening” silence on the matter, saying, “As Indian authorities clamp down on human rights daily, the UK government must not remain a mute bystander. It must bring human rights to the discussion table. India cannot wait another day for justice.”

“The demolition continued despite and in defiance of an order by the Supreme Court of India asking the authorities to stay the demolition exercise. The residents of Jahangirpuri were not even given an opportunity to salvage their possessions,” Amnesty said.

Johnson was also seen posing for pictures atop a bulldozer in the factory.

Johnson’s antics have been criticised for being ‘tone deaf’ by the media in India and the UK alike as they came only a day after the North Delhi Municipal Corporation’s (NDMC) decision to undertake an “anti-encroachment” drive in Delhi’s Jahangirpuri area, which recently witnessed severe communal clashes.

Also read: Despite BJP’s Claims, Jahangirpuri Demolitions Were Far From a Legitimate Anti-Encroachment Drive

On April 16, a Hindu procession reportedly celebrating ‘Hanuman Jayanti’ clashed with a group of Muslims outside a mosque. Stones were thrown, vehicles were set ablaze and guns were allegedly fired, causing nine people, including eight police officers, to sustain injuries.

Four days after the clashes, the NDMC, which is controlled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), ordered an ‘anti-encroachment’ drive in the same area, in the presence of a heavy deployment of security personnel.

The drive began at 9 am, but around 11 am, the Supreme Court ordered that status quo must be maintained until the matter was heard the next day. However, demolitions reportedly continued for over an hour after the court’s order, only stopping at 12:45 pm. 

Officials said that they had not received the order.

Residents of the area were locked in their lanes and prevented from gathering at the demolition sites. Street vendors and shop owners were reportedly not allowed to salvage any belongings. The Wire confirmed that some tiles and a railing on the mosque’s external wall were damaged.

Also read: With Khargone, Shivraj Singh Chouhan Drives Home Dream of ‘Bulldozer Justice’

Jahangirpuri is not the only place where bulldozers have been deployed to destroy the property of Muslims in recent weeks. Following communal clashes in Madhya Pradesh’s Khargone and Gujarat’s Anand district, bulldozers were used to destroy the shops, homes and properties of individuals alleged to have participated in the clashes. Most of these properties reportedly belonged to Muslims.