Bengaluru/Nagpur: Many young professionals, students, house wives, even retired people are braving monsoons and torrid rains – as in Mumbai – to gather in large numbers to protest the horrifying cases of lynching that have occured in India recently.
Thousands of Indians are protesting right now against rising attacks on Muslims and Dalits by vigilante cow protection groups that have horrified the conscience of many Indians across Religion and caste lines. (But sadly, not our Ruling class or many politicians).
Protests are being held in 14 Indian cities and also in London, Boston, Toronto and Karachi, protest organiser Saba Dewan said.
But even as we write this story, we hear that protests have spread to over 19 Indian towns and cities.
This protest is not ‘sponsored’ by any political party; no one has invested in bringing mobs by buses and trucks for this ‘agitation’ – it is by common people, for common Indian people who are being targeted for being of a specific religion, caste or sex.
The campaign, #NotInMyName, started with a Facebook post she wrote after a Muslim teenager was killed last week.
She is also taken aback by the massive support the campaign is receiving despite the oppressive atmosphere in the country these days.
“We Have Junaid’s Blood in Our Hands”
Delhi’s Jantar Mantar already has a very a good turnout. It could end up being the biggest protest since the latest horrifying act took place very close to Delhi.
A protester said that the government’s silence about the lynching incidents shows its complicity. Blaming PM Modi, the protester said:
PM Modi’s silence emboldens these vigilantes. Some of us were born as Hindus and practice Hinduism and we want to take up responsibilities. The blood of those lynched is on our hands. We don’t subscribe to the idea of murderous nationalism.
The biggest protest is expected at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar monument, Saba said.
The documentary filmmaker said she was “shattered” when she heard about last Thursday’s attack on 16-year-old Junaid Khan, who was killed by a mob of about 20 men on a train in the northern state of Haryana while returning home from Eid shopping in Delhi.
Her anguished Facebook post has managed to galvanise a large number of Indians, with thousands pledging to participate in the protests.
Saba had written:
Shouldn’t there be protests against the lynchings especially after the murder yesterday in Delhi NCR by a mob of a 16-year-old Muslim boy? If not now then when? Why wait for political formations to organise a demonstration ? Why can’t all of us as citizens repulsed by the violence get together in protest at the earliest next week at Jantar Mantar under the banner – Not in my Name.
“The protest is against this systematic violence against Muslims and Dalits that is going on in our country at the moment,” Dewan said.
“Junaid’s killing was a shattering moment for me, and also for a lot of other people. I started crying when I heard about his murder.
“We’ve always been saying we should protest, but there’s been no leadership. So we decided to do this ourselves. How long can you keep waiting till the cows come home?” she added.
Families of Junaid Khan and dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, who was murdered by a Hindu mob in April, are due to attend the protest in Delhi.
Protests are taking place between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. in following cities among the 19:
- Madhusudhan Mancha in Kolkata
- Tank Bund in Hyderabad
- Carter Road in Mumbai
- Bangalore Town Hall in Bengaluru
- Marina Beach in Chennai
- The Secretariat in Thiruvananthapuram
- Dr Babasahed Ambedkar Statue near Pune Station in Pune
- Sector 17 in Chandigargh
- Gandhi Park in Lucknow
- Kargil Chowk in Patna
Replying to questions about why she was doing it, Dewan said in another db post-
Journalists keep asking me what do you hope to achieve by this protest? I correct them. It is not I any longer. I am just a small part now of a campaign being carried out by thousands of people of India. And what will be the outcome? This in the present moment is the outcome – When strangers turn fellow travellers by claiming ownership of the campaign as citizens of India and organize protests across the country – at last count – Delhi, Chandigarh, Lucknow, Allahabad, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kolkata, Trivandrum and beyond the boundaries in London, Toronto, Boston; when I get whatsapp messages requesting me to attend the Not in My Name protest tomorrow in Delhi.
These are the people of India who believe in the tenants enshrined in the Constitution of India.These are the people of India who believe in equality, human dignity, inclusivity and decency. These are the people of India who in one voice are saying that the systemic violence being unleashed against dalits, minorities and other disprivileged groups is -Not in My Name.
—Sunita Mudaliar (Executive Editor)