Citizens come together to protest govt silence on lynching

Protest demonstrations, spontaneously organised on the social media, draw thousands across 18 Indian cities and five locations overseas, including New Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Boston among others

NH photo by Pramod Pushkarna
NH photo by Pramod Pushkarna

NH Web Desk

At least a crowd of several thousand joined a demonstration in New Delhi’s Jantar Mantar against the Modi government’s selective silence over lynching of Muslims in different parts of the country. If Mohd Akhlaq’s September 2015 killing shocked the nation, the brutal killing of 15-year-old Junaid Khan last week has actually kicked the collective conscience of India out of slumber.

Similar protest demonstrations were held in 18 other cities of India including Mumbai, Kolkata, Kochi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Lucknow, Patna, Jaipur, Allahabad and Chandigarh. Five cities in the rest of the world including London, Toronto, Boston, Karachi and Edinburgh are also going to witness protests over the same issue.

The protest, that started from a casual call on the social media by Saba Dewan, a Gurgaon-based filmmaker, was completely organised on the Internet via social media. People in New Delhi arrived with self-made banners and posters painted with the slogan “Not In My Name.” Addressing the people, Dewan sent a message to Junaid’s father in Ballabhgarh, “We are sorry that we could not keep your son safe. We will stop the hate. We will live together. Maybe we are less in number but we want to live together and we will together.”

“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 organize 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,” she had written in her original post that triggered the mobilisation.

The Delhi event saw a series of musical renditions including Gandhi’s favourite Bhajan “Vaishnav Jan”, songs by Rabbi Shergill and poetry recitals on a dais which was flanked by what organisers called “The Lynch Map of India” where on the Indian map, locations where people have been lynched to death were marked in red.

Prominent mediapersons like Ravish Kumar, MK Venu, Bharat Bhushan, Siddharth Varadarajan and political personalities like D Raja, Ashutosh, Kavita Krishnan were spotted at the Delhi event.

Here are some reactions to the protest demonstrations from different people:

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