Thousands took to the streets of 10-odd cities across the country on June 28 to protest a string of mob lynchings in recent years.
In several places, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kolkata, protesters gathered under the “Not In My Name” banner to make a strong statement against violence perpetrated by right-wing Hindu groups and cow-protection vigilantes.
In Delhi, the protest saw people pouring in from neighbouring states, such as Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
“We are laying our claim as Indian citizens upon this country… we are outraged at the attacks on human life, human dignity… at the systemic violence unleashed on Dalits and minorities,” said filmmaker Saba Dewan, whose post on Facebook a week ago helped coalesce the coordinated demonstrations.
Dewan was speaking to a crowd that had braved the rain to gather in central Delhi’s Jantar Mantar. People of all ages and walks of life trooped in, some carrying babies on one arm and holding placards that read “Stop this violence” and “Our collective voice against hate” with the other.
The protests were seen as an immediate reaction to the brutal stabbing of a 16-year-old Muslim boy, Junaid, on a train. Earlier this month, a Muslim social worker was lynched allegedly by government officials in Rajasthan.
Besides, a Muslim dairy farmer Pehlu Khan was killed by cow protection vigilantes at Rajasthan’s Alwar in April.
The families of Junaid and Pehlu were also present at the site of the Delhi protest.