Protests against a wave of attacks on Muslims and Dalits by mobs that accuse them of killing cows or eating beef were held across India on Wednesday.
The protests follow the lynching of a 16-year-old boy Junaid Khan accused of possessing beef on a train in Ballabhgarh, Haryana by a mob that mocked his skull cap and called him a beef eater after an argument over train seats escalated. Two of his brothers were injured in the incident.
The protests were organized by Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan who gave out the rallying cry on social networking site, Facebook. Although the protests were originally planned to be held just at Jantar Mantar in New Delhi, the idea has swept up a great deal of response online enough to be replicated across several cities.
The protests were held in Kolkata, Allahabad, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Patna, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Mumbai, Lucknow, Kochi and Thiruvananthapuram.
Critics accuse right-wing Hindu groups, some linked to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s party, of fomenting or not doing enough to stop violence against Muslims and lower-caste Hindus who eat beef or work in the meat and leather industries, Reuters reported.
Several prominent personalities from various field participated in the protest.
Spent six hours travelling to and from vashi to carter road for the protest. Proud of my country for standing in solidarity #NotInMyName
— Rana Ayyub (@RanaAyyub) June 28, 2017
In Mumbai, despite rains people come out in large numbers. Actors Shabana Azmi, Konkona Sen Sharma, Rajat Kapoor and Ranvir Shorey and activist Arpita Chatterjee were among those who participated in the protest held at Carter Road in suburban Bandra.
In Kolkata, among the protesters was film-maker Aparna Sen.
I don’t doubt its sincerity but #NotinMyName strikes me as an enterprise of the media, by the media and for the media.
— Swapan Dasgupta (@swapan55) June 28, 2017
While as in National capital at Jantar Mantar, Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sasodia along with singer and composer Rabbi Shergil participated in the protests.
“I am concerned about what is happening in the country,” Manish Sisodia was quoted by Times of India.
While as senior JD (U) leader K C Tyagi questioned government’s silence over these killings.
“The state has failed and this is a reaction to that,” he said.
Meanwhile, according to IndiaSpend, a data journalism website, 28 Indians – 24 of them Muslims – have been killed and 124 injured since 2010 in cow-related violence.
Modi’s information minister, Venkaiah Naidu, called the killing of Khan ‘atrocious’ and said local authorities must take action.