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Muslims under target

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Our second day in Shamli began with a meeting of another kind of violence that families are grappling with in western Uttar Pradesh, since the appointment of the Yogi Adityanath government.

It is not unusual for the front pages of local newspapers to be filled with sensational stories of "dreaded criminals" killed or injured in shootouts with the police.

The media publishes the police version of each of these "encounters" uncritically. Almost 30 such encounters have occurred since the new government came to power in Uttar Pradesh. It does not appear strange to the media who dutifully report the stories in which the men shot are almost always Muslims.

Nothing seems suspicious to the media despite the fact that in none of these shootouts are the police seriously injured. They just report minor injuries usually on the shoulders or arms. It does not worry reporters that most of the men killed or injured in these "encounters" are either just petty criminals or men with no criminal records at all.

One such family met us in Shamli. I will not mention their names so that they do not get into trouble with the police.

Their son, a young man in his twenties with no police record, was picked up by the police along with his friend from his village, although the police initially made no official record of their........

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