The Not In My Name campaigners, who organised the nation-wide protests against lynchings and communal violence on June 28, will hold a vigil in Jantar Mantar on Tuesday evening, this time to mourn the deaths of the seven Hindu pilgrims who were killed by militants on their way to Amarnath on Monday.
In a statement on Facebook, organisers called the attackers “enemies of humanity” and said that they as citizens wanted to “take a firm stand against political violence no matter who the perpetrator.”
“All lives matter and dead bodies should not become part of a politics that divides people on the basis of religion,” the post said. “The seven dead did not deserve to die and it is only when we stand up and demand an end to this politics of hatred that we can prevent the deaths of innocents going on a pilgrimage or returning from Eid shopping.” The Eid incident refers to the stabbing of 15-year-old Junaid Khan on a train to Mathura on June 22.
The vigil has been scheduled for 7 pm and the organisers have asked participants to carry posters bearing #NotInMyName to show solidarity with the families of those killed.
Bharatiya Janata Party National Spokesperson GVL Narasimha Rao on Monday had questioned what he claimed was the selectivity of the Not In My Name campaigners. “On Amarnath killings, is “Not In My Name” gang protesting or are protests only for Akhlaqs, Junaids, Pehlu Khans and Not for Lord Shiva devotees?” Rao had said on Twitter.
The organiser of the vigil, filmmaker Saba Dewan said Tuesday’s event was being held to protest all forms of violence and hatred. “We are not organising the vigil to respond to the BJP,” Dewan told Scroll.in. “We are against any nature of violence, including the excesses on the people of Kashmir.”
On Monday, militants first opened fire at a bullet-proof police bunker in Botengoo village in in Kashmir’s Anantnag district. When security forces retaliated, the militants fled and then attacked a police picket near Khannabal. After this, a bus carrying pilgrims from Gujarat came under attack, leaving seven dead. The bus was not registered with the Amarnath Shrine Board, nor was it a part of a pilgrim convoy, the Central Reserve Police Force said. The attack, which the government believes was carried out by the Lashkar-e-Taiba, was condemned by senior government officials including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On June 28, the Not In My Name protestors had gathered in at least 10 cities in solidarity against communal and caste-based violence in the country. The demonstrations were held after documentary filmmaker Saba Dewan called for an agitation in Delhi and created a Facebook event.