The ‘Not In My Name’ protests that were held in over 10 cities across the country on June 28 received a boost in Mumbai as hundreds of residents descended on the Veer Kotwal Udyan in Dadar West a little after 4 pm Monday.
The earlier events were marked by a largely silent protest against the recent lynching incidents and other violent acts by alleged cow vigilantes. The latest protest witnessed the coming together of several political organisations like the Communist Party of India (Marxist), Communist Party of India, Bharip Bahujan Mahasangh, Students’ Federation of India, All India Democratic Women’s Association, Centre of Indian Trade Unions, Democratic Youth Federation of India, All India Students Federation, Students Islamic Organisation of India, and the Aam Aadmi Party.
The protesters gathered at the park to sing, raise slogans and march against cow-related violence, and especially the Central government’s “indifference” towards these crimes. They were joined by Sarva Shramik Sangh, Bharatiya Mahila Federation, All India Trade Union Congress, Indian Muslims For Secular Democracy, Forum Against Oppression of Women, and many other grassroot organisations.
In addition to ‘Not In My Name’, the chant, “Nafrat ke khilaaf, insaniyat ki awaaz (Against hatred, we cry out for humanity)”, was heard all through the procession that spilled out of the park on to Tilak Road and went all the way to Chaityabhoomi, the memorial dedicated to Dr B R Ambedkar.
Unlike the Carter Road and Bandra events held last week where political parties were dissuaded from joining the agitation with banners and slogans, the Dadar march was a full-blown multi-party affair. The earlier protests had faced criticisms for being a platform for celebrity and upper middle-class outrage but several people who had attended that event were also seen at the march Monday.
Filmmakers Anand Patwar-dhan, Nishtha Jain, Dibakar Banerjee and Surabhi Jain were present. Jain shot the march on a hand-held camera. Flavia Agnes and Dr Ambedkar’s grandson and leader of the Bharipa Bahujan Mahasangh, Prakash Ambedkar, were present too. “The two protests are somewhat different. The Carter Road protest has been criticised but it did mobilise all those in solidarity with the victims. There is a wider group today but both events are necessary. Hopefully, the shortcomings of the Bandra event can be remedied today,” said Rossi D’Souza, a 33-year-old PhD student at the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Colaba.
Though it is difficult to state the exact number of people who attended Monday’s protest, thousands were said to have marched. Last week, rain had cut short the Bandra protest by at least 15 minutes but Monday’s clear skies saw men, women and even schoolchildren joining the march at different locations.