Thousands of residents and a number of organisations under the umbrella protest of “Nafrat ke Khilaaf Insaaniyat Ki Awaaz” on Monday staged a demonstration from Mumbai’s Kotwal Garden to Chaityabhoomi in Dadar against the spate in lynchings and hate crimes across the country. Filmmakers Anand Patwardhan, Nishta Jain and Surabhi Sharma, advocates Prakash Ambedkar and Flavia Agnes and writer Sameera Khan were at the protest, alongside members of the All India Trade Union Congress, members of grassroots organisations as well as students and Mumbai residents from across classes.
A statement released by the protesters accused Prime Minister Narendra Modi of turning a blind-eye towards the rise in atrocities under his Bharatiya Janata Party-led administration. “The rise of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh and BJP in 2014 has been marked by lynchings and killings of Muslims, Dalits and rationalists,” the statement said.
Protestors included members of the Bharatiya Republican Party, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Lal Nishan Paksh, All India Trade Union Congress, Govind Pansare Abhiwadan Samiti, Sarva Shramik Sangh, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, Bastar Solidarity Network, Aam Aadmi Party and several other organisations.
“We do not believe that the present regime will stop the destruction of the secular, democratic India promised to us by our Constitution,” the statement said. “So this is not an appeal to the government. It is a wake up call to the conscience of the country.”
“We are Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people of all denominations, castes and creeds including some who have no religion,” the statement said.
The organisers said the hostile environment in the country is “creating a generation that does not think violence against the weak and helpless is wrong.” The joint statement said, “what is physically dangerous for the minority is mentally dangerous for the majority.”
On June 28, thousands of citizens across the country took to the streets to protest against the recent lynching of Muslims and other incidents of communal and caste-based violence. The latest in this string of incidents is the killing of a young Muslim boy aboard a local train to Ballabhgarh, Haryana, on June 22.