Amnesty is urging India to stop its 'selective and vicious' crackdown on Muslim protesters


India must immediately end a "vicious" crackdown on Muslims who took to the streets to protest a ruling party official's remarks about the Prophet Mohammed, Amnesty International said on Tuesday. Two demonstrators were killed and hundreds of others arrested last week in nationwide protests over the comments, which embroiled India in a diplomatic furore and caused widespread outrage in the Islamic world. Footage of bulldozers demolishing homes of those arrested or identified as protesters has since been spread on social media. Authorities were "selectively and viciously cracking down on Muslims who dare to speak up... against the discrimination faced by them," Amnesty's Aakar Patel said in a statement. "Cracking down on protesters with excessive use of force, arbitrary detention and punitive house demolitions... is in complete violation of India's commitments under international human rights law." More than 300 people have been arrested in the northern Uttar Pradesh state for joining last week's rallies. The state's chief minister, firebrand monk Yogi Adityanath, is one of India's most prominent Hindu nationalist politicians, known for sectarian rhetoric against India's 200-million strong Muslim minority. Mr Adityanath has repeatedly called on authorities to demolish the homes of people accused of crimes, an exhortation critics say violates constitutional and human rights law prohibitions on collective punishment. Amnesty has demanded an "immediate and unconditional release" of detained protesters, and Mr Patel said the arrests and demolitions were "part of an alarming escalation of the states' measures targeting Muslims".