BENGALURU: The rain and heavy evening traffic didn’t stop hundreds of Bengalureans for stepping out on Wednesday to show solidarity with the ‘Not in my Name’ protest. This silent protest, which has reached 13 cities in India and abroad, is a show of solidarity by citizens in standing up against violence, in the light of the murder of Muslim youngster Hafiz Junaid last week, who was aboard a Delhi-Mathura train, allegedly over rumours of beef consumption.
What started as a Facebook post by Delhi-based filmmaker Saba Dewan on last week’s violence soon turned into a nation-wide coming together of like-minded folk.On Wednesday, silent protests happened simultaneously in many cities, and the one here at Town Hall was organised by editor and freelance writer, Karthik Venkatesh. He said, “The turnout is spectacular. I got into this purely because I saw what was happening in Delhi and thought that we should do something too.
The fact that this campaign took off by itself – no one spearheaded it – indicates that people are not willing to keep quiet.” Shedding a different light on the matter was animal rights activist Nirupama Sarma. “We don’t believe that violence against one justifies violence against another. The animal rights movement doesn’t endorse these kind of killings. People would assume that we wouldn’t support something like this – we believe in ahimsa – against animals and humans. The lynching wasn’t for the love of animals, it’s about hate – of Muslims and Dalits. Cows are merely an excuse,” Sarma said.
“We can’t stand for the violence we’re seeing in the north. We want Modiji to hear us. He’s going to other countries and hugging leaders, but he’s not seeing what is happening in India. We want the whole country to see how the BJP government has utterly failed,” said Humayun Seth, a resident of Benson Town. Gautam Bhan, a well known LGBTQ rights activist and faculty at the Indian Institute for Human Settlements (IIHS), Bengaluru, was also present at the protest. He said, “We should see this as a series of spontaneous reactions, that people felt the need to come out and make a public statement. Violence and inequality are not new to India, but it’s time for people to take back the right to talk about what this country means. That is what this moment represents.”
Talking about the relevance of these kind of peoples’ movements, Bhan said, “What you’re seeing is a set of connected responses to the fact that the State is no longer speaking in our names or the constitution. And the minute the State starts to speak for itself alone, is the beginning of a kind of authoratarian fascism. So the question now really is not what the State intends to do, but what the people who can take the public back from the State can make it do.”Bhan added, “This show of solidarity will only grow as the Centre continues to remain deaf.”