By Aleem Shaikh
3rd July, 4 pm, Kotwal Garden (opposite Plaza Cinema, Dadar West)
Citizens of Mumbai will take out a rally from Kotwal Garden to Chaityabhoomi to protest the series of lynchings and hate crimes that are occurring in this country with nauseating regularity. Advocate Prakash Ambedkar, film maker Anand Patwardhan, leaders from trade unions and political parties as well as eminent citizens and cultural activists from all walks of life will attend.
The RSS/BJPrise to power in 2014 has been marked by lynchings and killings of Muslims, Dalits and rationalists while the Prime Minister maintains silence. It started in 2014 when Mohsin Shaikh, an innocent techie was beaten to death with hockey sticks in Pune just because he looked ‘Muslim’. In Mumbai Yakub Shaikh was murdered. Then began the killings by cow vigilantes (GauRakshaks). Mohammed Akhlaq in Dadri, Zahid Bhatt a 16 year old in Udhampur, the hanging from a tree of Mohammed Majloom and Azad Khan in Latehar, Jharkhand, the thrashing in Una, Gujarat of 7 Dalits for skinning a dead cow, the murder of cattle traders Abu Hanifa and Riazuddin Ali in Assam, Pehlu Khan in Alwar, Rajasthan, the lynching of Bhoop Singh &Jabbar Singh in Greater Noida and 15 year old Junaid in Faridabad, Haryana – are all the handiwork of self-appointed cow vigilantes.
Elsewhere Ghulam Mohammed is killed in Bulandshahar for helping an inter-faith couple. Zafar Husain is lynched in Pratapgarh, Rajasthan for attempting to protect women. DSP Ayub Pandith is lynched in J&K, and Uttam and Gangesh in Jharkhand. In Hyderabad PhD scholar Rohith Vemula who fought with ABVP and was expelled from his hostel on the orders of Central government Ministers, is driven to suicide. Najeeb a JNU scholar ‘disappears’ after a scuffle with ABVP and is never found again.
The murderers of rationalist Dr. Narendra Dabholkar roam free with impunity and strike twice more to kill Comrade Govind Pansare and Professor MM Kalburgi. The State refuses to ban the prime suspect, the Sanatan Sanstha.
In court confessional statements ’disappear’ and witnesses turn hostile so thatsaffron terrorists from Aseemanand to SadhviPragya Thakur walk out of jail.
In Kashmir, the decision to use brute force and pellet guns rather than initiate talks and peace measures alienates ordinary citizens.
The brutalization of this country is creating a generation that does not think violence against the weak and helpless is wrong. Everywhere minorities are under threat. But what is physically dangerous for the minority is mentally dangerous for the majority.
This is not thefuture we want. We are Hindus, Muslims, Christians and people of all denominations, castes and creeds including some who have no religion. We do not believe that the present regime will stop the destruction of the secular, democratic Indiapromised to us by our Constitution. So this is not an appeal to the government. It is a wake up call to the conscience ofthe country.
Aam Aadmi Party Mumbai will join this march of Mumbaikers, along with the Bharatiya Republican Party, CPM, CPI, ANIS, LalNishan Paksh, LalNishan Paksh (L), CPI (ML), SUCI, CITU, AITUC, TUSC, Govind Pansare Abhiwadan Samiti, Sarva Shramik Sangh, Sarva Shramik Sanghatana, NTUI, ABJM, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, DYFI , AIYF, SFI, AISF, Mumbai Rahiwasi Sangh, Bruhan Mumbai Bhadekaru Parishad, BUCTU, JatiAnth Sangharsh Samiti, Samajik Atyachar Prtibandhak Chalwal, Vidhyarthi Bharati, Indian Muslim For Secular Democracy, CPDR, Tanzime Insaaf, Janvadi Lekhak Sangh, Akhil Bharati Janvadi Mahila Sanghatan, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, Samvidhan Saanvardhan Samiti, Lok Sanskriti Manch, Maharashtra Urdu Writers Guild, Forum Against Oppression of Women, Pragatisheel LekhakSangh, Naujawan Bharat Sabha, Bigul Mazdoor Dasta, NAPM, Bastar Solidarity Network, Be back Collective, Morchepe Kavi, Ghar Bachao Ghar Banao Andolan, RPI (Secular).