“Not In My Name” protest marches were held in various cities across the country on Wednesday to protest the killing of Hafiz Junaid.
The campaign started with a Facebook post by a filmmaker against the lynching of Muslim teenager Junaid on a local train in Haryana. Thousands have pledged to hit the streets in support of the campaign.
Citizen protests were held in different cities including Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru on Wednesday. The complete list of the venues is as follows:
- Delhi: Jantar Mantar
- Kolkata: Dakhinapan premises, next to Madhusudhan Mancha, Dhakuria
- Hyderabad: Tank Bund
- Thiruvananthapuram: The Secreatariat
- Bengaluru: Bangalore Town Hall
- Mumbai: Promenade, Carter Road
- Pune: Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Statue, near Pune Station
- Boston: Harvard Square
- Chennai: Gandhi Statue on Marina Beach
- London: SOAS University of London on Thornhaugh Street
- Chandigarh: Sector 17
- Toronto: 356 Bloor Street East (Sherborne and Bloor)
- Karachi: Outside Karachi Press Club
- Lucknow: Gandhi Park, GPO
- Patna: Outside Kargil Chowk
The filmmaker, Saba Dewan, said, adding that it reflected the “anger and grief” of the people.
“I never realised the response would be so overwhelming. Despite the debilitating violence, these protests made us feel we are alive and spark hope,”. The campaign sought to “reclaim the Constitution” and “resist the onslaught” on the right to life and equality, the Gurgaon-based documentary filmmaker said.
The protest in Delhi were held at the Jantar Mantar at around 6 pm. The family of 17-year-old Junaid, killed by a mob when he was on his way home to Ballabhgarh after shopping for Eid in Delhi, was also be invited to join the demonstration, Dewan said.
An image designed by graphic artist Orijit Sen featuring blood-stained chappals, a metal rod and the message “Not In My Name” is being shared by hundreds on social media sites along with an appeal to join the protest.
“Please carry banners with the slogan – Not in My Name. This is a citizens’ protest open to all. Everyone is welcome but without party or organisational banners,” the invite read.
It all started on 24 June with Dewan’s post calling for protests against the spate of lynchings that have taken place in different parts of the country in recent weeks, the latest being the murderous attack on Junaid on 22 June.
“If not now, then when? Why wait for political formations to organise a demonstration? Why can’t all of us as citizens repulsed by the violence get together in protest at the earliest next week at Jantar Mantar under the banner – Not in my Name,” it said.
Junaid was stabbed to death on a Mathura-bound train, which he had taken with his two brothers after shopping at Delhi’s Sadar Bazar. A group of men hurled communal slurs at the boys and attacked them after an altercation, allegedly over seats.
Not In My Name’ protest: Renuka Shahane posted strong message after Junaid Khan lynching
Renuka Shahane, who is popular for her strong opinions on social media, also posted a long message on Facebook to stand for the ‘Not In My Name’ protest.
A 16-year-old boy named Junaid Khan was brutally stabbed to death on by a mob of cruel, bloodthirsty individuals while returning from Delhi along with his two brothers after Eid shopping. Can you imagine what it was all about? A petty fight over train seats escalated and religious slurs were hurled at the brothers, and it led to murder. After the horrifying incident, people from all across the cities in India stood up for the #NotInMyName protest. A demonstration scheduled in Delhi and several other cities across the country on June 28 saw citizens standing against incidents of lynching of Muslims and Dalits.
The shocking incident has left many baffled. In the wake of the protests, Renuka Shahane, who is popular for her strong opinions on social media, also posted a long message on Facebook. Stressing on the fact that “innocence dies when hate rules”, she expressed her views in a powerful post.
See what she wrote here.
“NOT IN MY NAME
Junaid was lynched by a mob of cruel human beings. I don’t care what religion those lynchers belonged to. Nor do I care what religion Junaid belonged to. I only care about one thing. A group of mean, cruel human beings killed a teenager and assaulted three other young men brutally!
Junaid was 16.
My elder son will turn 16 next year.
My heart breaks for Junaid’s mother.
Not only did a group of cruel human beings kill Junaid, another group of cruel human beings egged them on. Junaid was also killed by those cruel people who witnessed the insanity & chose to remain silent.
There are some cruel people who justify this lynching.
Yes! Hate allows for all sorts of justification.
There has been a long list of these lynchings. It has become so common that no one talks about it. Nobody asks questions about what happened to the perpetrators. Whether they were caught & given the strictest punishment or whether they were released to unleash more violence!
I cannot fathom how anyone can kill unarmed, innocent human beings!
I cannot fathom how people can justify this horrific violence!
Instead of taking law into their own hands why are police complaints not made?
Is it because the lynch mob knows that there is no reason behind what they have done?
All they want to do is to kill in the name of hate.
Whichever religion, ideology, language, ethnicity you belong to, lynching done in any name cannot be condoned!
We’ve suffered so many riots, terrorist attacks, pogroms, lynchings but we haven’t learnt anything.
The bottom line is that innocent human beings become the target of that hate. They are usually poor. They are usually those who are incapable of fighting back. It is really too, too disheartening.
Innocence dies when hate rules!
I cannot be a part of those who encourage hate.
I was with the Ekta Manch marching from Parel to Azad Maidan singing ” Hum hongey kaamyaab….” to promote brotherhood between fellow citizens of all faiths in 1993 after the horrendous riots followed by the heinous bomb blasts in Mumbai.
I marched to the Gateway of India to protest the utter failure & crass mishandling of 26/11 by the then Congress Govt in the State and the Centre in 2008.
I supported the Anna Hazare anti corruption movement when he waged the civil battle against the UPA 2 Govt at the Centre.
I was vocal about women’s safety after the horrendous rape & murder of Jyoti Singh as well as Pallavi Purkayastha as well as the sickening hacking of Swathi.
Today I stand firmly against the lynch mentality that has an active political patronage in our country.
I do not belong to any political party. I am a citizen of one of the finest democracies in the World. That is why it is so important for all of us to respect & protect the tenets of our Constitution.
I, as a proud citizen of India, do not conform to the views of anyone who actively or passively supports this lynching.
My allegiance lies with the Constitution of India.
If the Govt or any other body does anything to undermine the basic tenets of democracy in our country, I will vocally oppose it.
I so wanted to be a part of the peaceful civil protest at Carter Road today but I can’t. But I will not be a part of this hate!
I do not want my children to inherit this hate.
I will not have the blood of innocents on my hands.
NOT IN MY NAME!”
Every year, once a year, Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemns lynchings committed in the name of cow protection. Every year, his condemnation is stronger. Responding to the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri in 2015, the prime minister had offered platitudes for Hindu-Muslim harmony.
In 2016, after seven Dalits were beaten up by cow vigilantes, the Prime Minister, for the first time, directly named and condemned self-styled ‘gau rakshaks’. Seventy to 80 percent gau rakshaks, he said, were anti-social elements.
This year, after a series of killings of Muslims with the false bogey of ‘beef’, the Prime Minister spoke again. Speaking at Gandhi’s Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad yesterday, Modi said killing in the name of cow protection was not acceptable. Reminding people of Gandhi and Vinobha Bhave, Modi made a Gandhian appeal for non-violence. After all, Gandhi and Vinobha both believed in cow-protection as well as non-violence.
The Prime Minister’s appeal came a day after individuals and came together through social media to organise a multi–city protest called ‘Not In My Name’. When the prime minister spoke the next day against the lynchings, protestors felt vindicated. They had achieved something.
It didn’t even take a day for them to be proved wrong. Soon, news came from Jharkhand that yet another Muslim was murdered, the assault justified with that one-word license to kill — beef.
Gau, Gau, Gau
The ‘Not In My Name’ protests are not going to stop these incidents. The Prime Minister will repeat his annual admonition of cow vigilantes next year, but this business of saying ‘Beef!’ and getting any Muslim lynched at will is now beyond anyone’s hands to control. The lynchings now are taking place not by professional gau rakshaks but just about anyone who has a problem with a Muslim — over a seating dispute in a train for instance.
A closer look at the PM’s speech shows he made a distinction between non-violent cow protection and killings-in-the-name-of-cow-protection.
It would be ok if the ‘Not In My Name’ protests were merely futile. One has to speak up and speak out even if one doesn’t succeed, they argue. Silence is complicity. Fair enough. The problem is that the protests were actually counter-productive. A closer look at the PM’s speech shows he made a distinction between non-violent cow protection and killings-in-the-name-of-cow-protection. He spoke at length on the issue of cow protection, narrating a story.
When he was growing up, an incident happened in his village. A cow mistakenly killed a new-born child of Modi’s neighbour. The only child of two poor masons was born after many years of marriage. The repentant cow stood before the family’s house and didn’t eat or drink anything, giving up its own life. With this story, Prime Minister Modi admonished those who commit violence in the name of cow protection.
A cow mistakenly killed a new-born child of Modi’s neighbour. The only child of two poor masons was born after many years of marriage. The repentant cow stood before the family’s house and didn’t eat or drink anything, giving up its own life.
The net result is that cow protection is again centre-stage as one of the primary issues of Indian politics, circa 2017.
The Golwalkar Plan
Modi did not name MS Golwalkar at Sabarmati Ashram. The second chief of the RSS between 1940 and 1973, Golwalkar has had a huge influence on Narendra Modi by his own admission. Golwalkar was the man behind a huge cow-protection movement in the 1960s. Golwalkar told ‘Milkman of India’ Verghese Kurian, “What I’m trying to tell you is that I’m not a fool, I’m not a fanatic. I’m just cold-blooded about this. I want to use the cow to bring out our Indianness…” Golwalkar was clear in what he was trying to achieve. He was trying to unite Hindus with the issue of cow protection, using a powerful religious and cultural symbol that widens the Partition-marred cleft between Hindus and Muslims.
In other words, anything that brings Cow Protection centre-stage in politics actually helps the Hindutva cause. It helps further use cow protection as a means of uniting Hindus against Muslims — the sort of polarisation that has become routine in helping the BJP win elections.
Sadly, even protesting against the lynchings in the name of cow protection helps Hindutva, and thus only increases the political cover that cow vigilantes receive, never mind the Prime Minister’s annual condemnation.
As the prime minister spoke of non-violent cow protection, it is possible to imagine that images from the ‘Not In My Name’ protest are already circulating on hate–filled WhatsApp groups, Hindi captions saying, “look at the beef eaters! Look at these anti-Hindus who want to kill the cow!”
Not all deaths are equal
Our independent left/liberal/radical voices didn’t say ‘Not In My Name’ for these farmers.
In Sabarmati Ashram, the Prime Minister did not speak about the farmers’ agitations across the country, their demands, hardships or suicides. He did not speak of the five farmers who were killed in police firing in Mandsaur, Madhya Pradesh. All that the farmers were demanding was an increase in the rates at which the government buys their produce, given the drought in the region. Perhaps the prime minister did not feel the need to remember Gandhi or Vinobha Bhave in this context, because our independent left/liberal/radical voices didn’t say ‘Not In My Name’ for these farmers. No multi–city Facebook protests were organised. There were no songs of resistance, no appeals for justice, no mobilisation of media.
Had India’s shrinking but influential left–liberal community organised a protest for farmers, the political discourse would have shifted away from Keyword Beef (which only furthers Hindutva) to Keywords Farmer, OBC, unemployment, demonetisation, economic slowdown — issues that would have made people ask questions about the promise of #AchheDin. After this had been achieved, questions about the lynching of Muslims would have found greater resonance.
Ashish Meghraj who?
Similarly, India’s left–liberals could have organised a ‘Not In My Name’ protest for Ashish Meghraj. If 15-year-old Junaid Khan was killed in a train for being Muslim, 25 year old Meghraj was killed in Saharanpur last month because he was Dalit. Just as Junaid Khan was not the first Indian to be killed for his religious identity, Ashish Meghraj was not the first Indian killed for his caste.
The BJP is clear in that it does not even seek Muslim votes. In fact, it seeks to exclude Muslims from political power. It is unable to find a single Muslim to give an election ticket to in most elections. However, the BJP does seek Dalit votes, increasingly so. Their choice of a Dalit politician from the RSS fold, Ram Nath Kovind, is proof.
This is how Hindutva could have been politically weakened, and without politically weakening Hindutva, Muslims cannot be saved from its violent edge.
Had our left-liberals organised a ‘Not In My Name’ multi-city, multi-media protest for Meghraj, his name would have become as well-known as that of Khan or Akhlaq and Pehlu Khan, amongst those who seek justice. This would have caused some real political damage to the Hindutva project of uniting Hindus against Muslims — using such symbols as the holy cow. This is how Hindutva could have been politically weakened, and without politically weakening Hindutva, Muslims cannot be saved from its violent edge.
Alas, no flex posters were printed for Meghraj, no songs written for him, no slogans coined in his memory.
Why only Muslims?
It is laudable that our left-liberals are moved by the persecution of Muslims, but why are they not moved by the persecution of Dalits or farmers or the poor in general? This is obviously because our left-liberals have Muslim friends but no Dalit or even OBC friends. The disconnect our left-liberals have from the real India is evident in their growing marginalisation in political discourse.
The BJP has risen to power by, among other things, fixing its upper caste bias. It has an OBC prime minister, will soon give India its second Dalit president, it assuaged and brought back its old OBC leaders such as Kalyan Singh and Uma Bharti, and it has been inducting and allying with Dalit-OBC leaders at all levels from panchayat to Parliament. It has been doing so not just electorally but socially too, directly and through the RSS.
One obvious reason for the decline of the Congress party, and similarly the marginalisation of the independent left, is that both remain upper-caste dominated. They can’t even see what they can’t see. They are so trapped in their People Like Us filter bubble, constantly preaching to the converted, that nobody even pointed out that the name of a mass protest should perhaps not be in English!
The path to hell is paved with good intentions. With poetry and music aired through poor quality sound systems, our left-liberals walk into the Hindutva trap again and ever again, happily becoming the other pole of the polarisation that Hindutva seeks, getting played by the same old trick because it feels so cathartic to protest from the heart without thinking from the brain.
India has become Lynchistan’: Social media abuzz with talk on ‘Not in My Name’ protests
Thousands took part in demonstrations across the country to support the campaign against lynchings and violence against minority communities.
Thousands of citizens participated in pan-India protests on Wednesday to show their opposition towards the recent spate of lynchings of Muslims and attacks on Dalits. The demonstrations dubbed “Not in My Name” were organised in at least ten cities after Gurgaon-based filmmaker Saba Dewan called for a protest at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar in a Facebook post.
Thousands made their way to the locations, sporting T-shirts with “Not in My Name” across them and holding up posters on the lynchings. In Mumbai, citizens braved heavy rain to take part in the demonstration at Carter Road. Delhi, Kolkata, Pune, Hyderabad, Bengaluru, Kochi, Thiruvananthapuram, Patna, Lucknow and Allahabad also saw large turnouts.
Social media was abuzz with images and discussions on the protests, with some urging others to head out and take part in them and others calling it a media-generated farce. A section of users also came to the Centre’s defence when it was targeted for lack of action against mobs involved in lynchings.
A month before, Dalits from different parts of the country gathered at Jantar Mantar to protest against Saharanpur violence. This was also mobilised with the help of social networking sites.
Many protesters had then said that they had gathered at the site without any organised means for mass mobilisation except for social networking sites and WhatsApps groups that publicised the event.