New Delhi: Citizens in Mumbai will hold a rally on Monday to protest against the lynchings of Dalits, Muslims and rationalists under the BJP government. The protest isn’t only a message for the authorities, the rally’s organisers said, but for all citizens to take a stand.
“This is not an appeal to government,” the official statement read, “It is a wake up call to the conscience of the country.”
Prakash Ambedkar, who’s lambasted BJP and RSS for provoking violence against Muslims and Dalits, will spearhead the rally along with nearly 50 civil organisations. The protest begins 4 pm at Kotwal Garden and will march to Chaiyabhoomi. Participants include the Bharatiya Republican Party, CPM, CPI, Govind Pansare Abhiwadan Samiti, Sarva Shramik Sanghatana, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, SFI, Mumbai Rahiwasi Sangh, Vidhyarthi Bharati, Indian Muslim For Secular Democracy, Maharashtra Urdu Writers Guild, Bastar Solidarity Network, Bebak Collective and AAP Mumbai.
The rally will protest killings since 2014 – starting when IT professional Mohsin Shaikh was beaten to death with hockey sticks in Pune just because he looked ‘Muslim’ – to the latest rise in cow-motivated attacks across the country.
In their statement, the protesters decry impunity for hate crime perpetrators, claiming that court confessional statements ’disappear’ and witnesses turn hostile, allowing suspects to walk free. For example, in the 2013 murder of rationalist Narendra Dabholkar, prime suspect Virendra Singh Tawde, linked to the right-wing Sanatan Sanstha, was charged in 2016 but not yet convicted.
The organisers have said they resist violence, refusing to let it define India. “Everywhere minorities are under threat,” their statement read. “But what is physically dangerous for the minority is mentally dangerous for the majority.”