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Sunday, Oct 20, 2019

#notinmyname: Thousands to protest today against lynching of Muslims, Dalits

A citizen protest Not In My Name is being organised in five cities to protest against the lynching of 16-year-old Junaid, who was allegedly stabbed to death while returning home from Eid shopping.

delhi Updated: Jul 16, 2017 07:22 IST
Naina Arora and Ritam Halder
Naina Arora and Ritam Halder
Hindustan Times
A protest in being organised in five cities to condemn the alleged lynching of  a 16-year-old boy, Junaid.
A protest in being organised in five cities to condemn the alleged lynching of a 16-year-old boy, Junaid.

Facebook post by a filmmaker against the lynching of a Muslim teenager has sparked a powerful online campaign, leading to protest marches being organised in five cities across the country.

Thousands have pledged to hit the streets this week in support of the campaign, “Not In My Name”. Citizen protests will be held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru, simultaneously, on Wednesday, said filmmaker Saba Dewan, adding that it reflected the “anger and grief” of the people. “I never realized the response would be so overwhelming. Despite the debilitating violence, these protests will make us feel we are alive and spark hope,” Dewan had told agencies.

The campaign seeks to “reclaim the Constitution” and “resist the onslaught” on the right to life and equality, the Gurgaon-based documentary filmmaker said. The protest in Delhi will be held at the Jantar Mantar at around 6pm. The family of 17-year-old Junaid — killed by a mob when he was on his way home to Ballabhgarh after shopping for Eid in Delhi — will also be invited to join the demonstration, Dewan said. An image designed by graphic artist Orijit Sen featuring blood-stained slippers, a metal rod and the message “Not In My Name” is being shared by hundreds on social media along with an appeal to join the protest.

Dewan had written a post on Facebook condemning the stabbing of 16-year-old Junaid and four others on board a Mathura-bound train. An argument over seats had, allegedly, turned into a heated exchange of religious slurs and triggered a mob attack on family members returning home from Eid shopping.

If not now, then when? Asked Saba in her post. In response to it, ‘Not In My Name’ protests are being organised in five cities including Delhi’s Jantar Mantar (6pm), Bengaluru (6pm), Hyderabad (4pm), Thiruvananthapuram (5am) and Kolkata (5pm).

“The incident shook me up. I couldn’t sleep that night. This is not happening at some far off place. It’s happening right here in Delhi-NCR. I saw posts on social media that said, ‘No one is protesting, we have to do something but what do we do’. It came to me that as citizens, why are we waiting for xyz to take the lead. If the right to life is under assault, then what are talking about? I don’t want India to be a lynching republic,” said Saba, a St Stephens Alumnus.

Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan.
Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan. ( Facebook )

“After Akhlaq’s murder (Mohammad Akhlaq who was killed in Uttar Pradesh over rumours that there was beef in his house), there was a spate of award wapsi by people from all walks of life. The move was significant. But after that, there have been no street demonstrations and mass protests,” Saba said.

The protest will see poetry sessions and music. “That brings out so many aspects far better at times,” she said. Saba, who is joined by several volunteers in organising the protest, said this is the first time that she has organised a protest. “One has been watching with increasing sense of disquiet as a citizen to what is happening in the country in news of discrimination, assault and the worst end of this spectrum i.e. death, lynching. This is not the India we want. The India we believe in is inclusive, abides by secularism and is for all. A sense of frustration has been there across everyone,” she said.

Hoping that more people join in on Wednesday, she said, “The silence has to be broken. The government has to take cognisance of the matter and the guilty should be punished.”

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First Published: Jun 27, 2017 17:51 IST

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