As Muslims across Mewat observed a ‘black Eid’ to protest the violence against their community members, 23-year-old Irshad joined them with a black band on his arm. Irshad is the son of cattle farmer Pehlu Khan, who was lynched by a mob of alleged cow protection vigilantes in April. Almost two months after his father succumbed to his injuries, Irshad is disappointed that some of the accused are still free. Eid festivities in this region, populated by Meo Muslims, were dampened by the memory of that incident. “Tyauhar ki itni khushi nahi hai jitna in baaton ka gham hai (The joy of the festival has been dampened by the sorrow caused by these incidents),” said Irshad.
What has amplified the pain of the family, and the community, are the recent incidents of violence against Muslims across the country, the latest being the murder of 15-year-old Junaid Khan on a train.
Community leaders and “peace-loving people from all faiths” will meet at Gandhi Park in Haryana’s Nuh on Tuesday to discuss the community’s concerns.
“This protest is our way of expressing our concerns, our anger and our disappointment over these incidents. Tomorrow, peace-loving people, whether they are Hindus or Muslims, will meet at Gandhi Park to discuss what is to be done,” said Jameel Khan (40), a resident of Jaisinghpur village.
Hussain, Pehlu Khan’s uncle, said that the increasing number of such incidents proves that the attackers have no fear of the law. “Kya maarte hi rahenge hamein? Us bacche ne kya bigada tha kisi ka (Will they keep killing us, what did that child Junaid Khan do to anyone)?” he asked.
“This can’t just keep happening. If nothing happens to these people (responsible for the attacks), if there is no more fear of law, it will only embolden them,” he said.