India's cracking down on protesters with excessive use of force, arbitrary detention and punitive house demolitions is in complete violation of international human rights law and standards, human rights organisation Amnesty International says.
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 Muhammad, Amnesty International has said.
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 on Tuesday.
"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".
Amnesty has demanded an "immediate and unconditional release" of detained protesters, and Patel said the arrests and demolitions were "part of an alarming escalation of the states' measures targeting Muslims".
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 among Muslim communities across the globe.
Footage of bulldozers demolishing homes of those arrested or identified as protesters has since been spread on social media. More than 300 people have been arrested in the northern Uttar Pradesh state for joining last week's rallies.
Global outcry over derogatory remarks
Cities around India saw sizable demonstrations on Friday, with some crowds burning effigies of Nupur Sharma - the BJP spokeswoman who had made insulting remarks against the Prophet and his wife Ayesha in a TV debate.
Sharma has been suspended from the party, which issued a statement saying it respected all religions, while the governments of nearly 20 Muslim-majority countries called in their Indian envoys to register their disapproval.
Friday also saw huge protests in neighbouring countries, with police estimating more than 100,000 people mobilised across Bangladesh after midday prayers.
Another 5,000 people took to the streets in the Pakistani city of Lahore, demanding that their government take stronger action against India over the comments.
BJP's discriminatory policies towards Muslims
Since coming to power nationally in 2014, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has been accused of championing discriminatory policies towards Muslims. Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government proposed a controversial law that granted faster citizenship to refugees in India, but not if they are Muslim, while state BJP governments have passed laws making inter-religious marriages harder.
Muslims were also accused of spreading Covid-19. In recent years, Hindu mobs have targeted Muslims praying on Fridays in northern India.
BJP recently banned wearing the hijab in classrooms in southern Karnataka state. Hardline Hindu groups later demanded such restrictions in more Indian states. Muslim mutton sellers and fruit vendors have also become the target of the far-right Hindu groups.
During a Hindu festival in April, Hindu mobs pelted stones on mosques in several areas while DJs played loud music outside the mosques as worshippers prayed. Hindu monks known for their incendiary anti-Muslim speeches have been calling for Rohingya-type ethnic cleansing of Indian Muslims.