Poets, academics and others gathered to protest the rising tide of hatred and violence across the country.
New Delhi: Delhi on Wednesday evening witnessed another citizen’s protest under the ‘Not in My Name’ campaign, titled ‘Nafrat ke khilaf hum sab ki awaaz’ against the murder of Afrazul Khan in Rajasthan and the rising tide of hatred in the country.
“I am Muslim, I am India,” was the protestors’ clear message, urging citizens to stand up against the spate of violence erupting in different parts of the country.
The protest started with an address by Saba Dewan, founder of the Not in My Name campaign, demanding the immediate dismissal of the Vasundhara Raje government in Rajasthan. Expressing shock at the at the culture of impunity, the documentary filmmaker said that it is the administration’s abstinence from taking steps that has encouraged the perpetrators to continue their violence. “Today, what is at stake is not the unity and integrity of the country, which it is, but it is our humanity that is on the verge of being lost,” she said, speaking to The Wire.
Journalist Pankaj Srivastava, who has also been associated with the campaign from its start, said the promises we made to ourselves when the constitution was created have been lost. “These are troubling times that reflect the state of our society. These times are a wake-up call for Hindus to rescue their ‘sanatan Hindu dharma’ from the attack of the Hindutva, which is in fact nothing but a political ideology,” he said.
Venu, who heads a non-profit organisation for communities to raise voices in rural areas, said, “We have become a people of social media, I don’t understand why everyday conversations about such brutality are not happening. I am here because I’m afraid that the consequences could be worse,” she told The Wire.
Urdu poet Gulzar Dhelvi, speaking at the protest, talked of Indian culture that has always accepted people of all castes, religions, faith, creed and gender, and how far we have come from it. He asked the hate mongers to “Go back and read what your religion preaches.”
The silent protest saw about a hundred people from all walks of life. Falak, a documentary film-maker, said that she wishes to contribute in the struggle by reaching out to as many people as possible and ask them to not spread hatred.
Mohammad Aamir Khan, co-author of Framed As a Terrorist: My 14-Year Struggle to Prove My Innocence, said that he fears the kind of India his three-and-a-half-year-old daughter will grow up to see.
Similar protests were also held in Bhopal and Bengaluru yesterday.
Under the Not In My Name banner, protests had earlier been organised against the killing of teenager Junaid and of journalist Gauri Lankesh.
Shreya Valiramani is a final year student at Jindal Global Law School, Sonepat, Haryana, and an intern with The Wire.