A Facebook post by a filmmaker against the lynching of a Muslim teenager has spawned a powerful online campaign, leading to protest marches being held in five cities across the country. Thousands have pledged to hit the streets this week in support of the campaign, “Not In My Name”. Citizen protests will be held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru simultaneously on June 28, 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 will make us feel we are alive and spark hope,” Dewan told PTI. 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 will be 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 — will 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 reads.
It all started on June 24 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 June 22. “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.