A group of more than 50 people from all walks of life from the Greater Boston area assembled in Harvard Square in Cambridge, MA, to protest against the unabated pace of mob lynchings and the growing threat to human rights of citizens in India, especially those of Muslims, Dalits, and other minorities. The protestors demanded justice for the victims and their families, as well as urged for immediate public action to bring an end to hate crimes against minorities. The attendees of the event included individuals of Indian, South Asian, and American origin as well as representatives from various organizations.
Concerned citizens also protested in Chicago to demand immediate action against the perpetrators of lynchings as well as the politicians encouraging them. They said, “We, the concerned citizens of India and of Indian Origin living in US condemn such lackadaisical attitude of the government towards mobocracy and therefore, encouraging Law of Jungle and demand that the country be saved from falling into a dark era where mobocracy takes over”.
People of all ages and faith held posters and banners that expressed, outrage, grief and a demand for justice. One poster read “Punish criminal political patronage to lynching”, while other one had a the names – “Akhlaq, Pehulu, Afrazul, Junaid…Tabrez. Stop before it is you”
“It is a matter of grave concern for all people to raise their voices against this attack on Right To Be of a section of people and individuals. It is an attack on all people and is a form of state terrorism carried out by the ruling elite to attack , divert and divide people, who are struggling hard to find solutions to basic problems such as food, water, shelter, safety and security which are caused by the rule and plunder of a handful few. We must not let this pass” said Jaspal Singh who lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.
A poet present in the group read a poem written in remembrance of Tabrez and how Ram’s name is being used to spread fear and hatred. University students, doctors, scientists, workers, teachers and many others were part of the gathering in the famous Harvard Square.
Another attendee said, “Lynchings are a political tool designed to subjugate and terrorize minorities and other vulnerable sections of society. The shameful history of lynchings in the US should be enough to outrage us and take immediate public action to stop it in India”.
On June 17, Tabrez Ansari, 24, was beaten up by a group of people in the Seraikela -Kharsawan district of Jharkhand, on suspicion of theft. The mob tied him up and forced him to chant ‘Jai Shri Ram’ and ‘Jai Hanuman’ as he bled, and handed him over to the police the next day. This incident was filmed and went viral on social media. Four days later, the young man was declared dead while in custody without getting proper medical attention. According to the website https://lynch.factchecker.in/ there have been 175 major assaults due to cow-related violence causing 47 deaths.
“Human history, time and again has proven that hate doesn’t accomplish anything. Inclusiveness and tolerance are two key characters of the developed, progressive societies of the world. No civilized society accepts mob lynchings. And India with one of the world’s ancient civilizations, a history of tolerance and adapting a secular constitution cannot afford to take the path of hate in the name of religion to reach its goal of becoming a world leader” said Vinay Vikas, a biotech professional from Waltham, Massachusetts.
The event in Harvard Square ended by the group singing songs and chanting slogans to call for a people’s movement to end oppression against minorities and strive for a plural, secular and inclusive India, where all the sections of the society feel safe.