Thousands gather in India to protest attacks on Muslims

Delhi deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia National Spokesperson of the Janata Dal K. C. Tyagi and Swami Agnivesh hold placards during a silent protest Not in My Name

Citizen protests will be held in Delhi, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram and Bengaluru simultaneously on Wednesday, the filmmaker, Saba Dewan, said, adding that it reflected the "anger and grief" of the people.

Prem Singh, a professor of Hindi in Delhi University, launched his protest on 25 June, days after 17-year-old Junaid was killed by a mob on board a Mathura-bound train. Apart from cities in India, cities such as London and Toronto are also organising the protests.

In Bengaluru, the protest was joined by historian Ramchandra Guha and actor-director Girish Karnad with hundred others at the Town Hall.

The protest organisers have alleged that the family of Junaid Khan, the 16-year-old Muslim boy brutally killed by a Hindu mob on a train last week, had not been able to attend because they were intimidated by the authorities.

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A Delhi resident and working professional, Laraib Akram, said he would ensure the protest continued until the government took firm action to stop such incidents.

The campaign wants to "reclaim the Constitution" and "resist the onslaught" on the right to life and equality, the Gurgaon-based documentary filmmaker said.

As the post turned viral over the weekend, an image of blood stained slippers and rod with "Not in My name" written on it by graphic artist Orijit Sen became a symbol for the protest. If not now then when? Citizens across several cities on Wednesday evening demonstrated protests against the increase in incidents of lynching of Muslims and Dalits. Why wait for political formations to organise a demonstration? "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. "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", she wrote. A group of men hurled communal slurs at the boys and attacked them after an altercation, allegedly over seats.

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