Huge crowds gathered in at least ten cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, and Kolkata, on Wednesday to participate in the “Not in My Name” protests against the recent lynching of Muslims and other incidents of communal and caste-based violence. The demonstrations were held after documentary filmmaker Saba Dewan called for an agitation in Delhi and created a Facebook event.
Here’s a quick look at what happened:
The Capital saw more than a thousand people gathered at Jantar Mantar at 6 pm. Several cultural programmes were organised at the venue, including a show by singer Rabbi Shergill and recitations.
“I wanted to see how many were affected enough to show up at the event. I am really happy about the turnout,” 23-year-old filmmaker Savyasachi told Scroll.in.
Lights designer Abhinav said he was disturbed by the spate of such incidents. “I am not okay with what’s happening in the country right now. At some point, you have to make yourself heard,” he added.
A graduate student, Afreen, said the Ramjas College incident had moved her. “They [Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad] stopped the screening of Muzaffarnagar Baaki Hain...that’s when I realised that the country was changing.”
Despite the rain playing spoilsport and water-logging in the road leading to the location, more than 200 people made it to the Carter Road venue Bandra to take part in the “Not in My Name” protest.
With placards bearing slogans such as “Stand up to Hindu terrorism” and “Say no to Brahminism”, protestors refrained from shouting slogans. After a slow start, the demonstration picked up momentum around 6 pm when people formed a silent human chain.
“I am a Hindu. I consider the cow my mother. But killing people is not right,” Narendra Bhandari, a businessman in his 20s, told Scroll.in.
The Mumbai leg of the protest – organised by film writer Arpita Chatterjee and others – saw a number of celebrities participare. Actors Konkona Sen Sharma, Ranveer Shorey, Kalki Koechlin and Shabana Azmi joined the movement.
The organisers played folk songs and the drums. The protesters sang Hum Honge Kamiyab and chanted “Not in My Name”.
It was a sea of umbrellas as nearly 1,000 people braved the heavy downpour to gather near Madhusudan Mancha. Celebrities such as director-actor Aparna Sen, actor Dhritiman Chatterjee and singer-music composer Anjan Dutta were among those who took part in the protest. Academic Partha Chatterjee was also present at the venue.
“The rising trend of Hindutva is dangerous,” Dutta told Scroll.in. “I am afraid of the situation in my country now. We need to speak against this monstrosity. India is a place for everyone.”
Sharmila Kumam, a teacher at Loreto College, said she was at the venue to protest against what is happening in the name of Hinduism. “Killing someone over what he is eating is absolutely unacceptable,” she told Scroll.in.
‘Not in My Name’ campaign in other cities
Several groups met in Tank Bund, Hyderabad, where the police asked them to disperse. Officers said the protestors had not taken permission to hold the demonstration and were causing traffic congestion, reported Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, protestors in Thiruvananthapuram blamed the Narendra Modi government for the rising number of incidents of violent. In Bengaluru, citizens held a silent march at Town Hall. Historian Ramchandra Guha was present at the protest.
In Lucknow, people wore black armbands to mark their protest. In Kochi, the protestors staged a streetplay before the event. Similar demonstrations were held in Patna, Allahabad and Chennai.
Dewan had decided to organised the Delhi event after the murder of a young Muslim boy aboard a local train to Ballabhgarh, Haryana, on June 22. Junaid was travelling home after Eid shopping in Delhi with some friends and relatives. A group of men targeted him and his companions with communal remarks after they refused to give up their seats to them. The men then assaulted them, and Junaid died as a result of the injuries he had sustained.