Around 50 organisations have come together in a civil society initiative under which volunteers will visit places where lynchings have been reported and meet the affected families.
The month-long journey called “Karwan-e-Mohabbat” for “sharing pain, for atonement, for solidarity and for love” began from Assam on September 4 and will end at Porbandar in Gujarat on October 2.
The organisations include All India Democratic Women’s Association, All India Secular Front, Alliance Defending Freedom, Alternative Law Network, Anhad, Centre for the Study of Society and Secularism, Ekta Parishad, National Federation of Indian Women, National Alliance of People’s Movements among others.
“The purpose is twofold — to respond to the everyday fear of Muslims, Dalits and Christians, and the worrying silences of the majority,” Navsharan Singh, a member of participating group Aman Biradri, told media here on Thursday.
“We aim to declare that we stand with our Muslim, Dalit and Christian sisters and brothers in this hour of gathering darkness. The journey is also a call of conscience to India’s majority,” she said.
Advocate and columnist Dushyant explained that the main aim of the “Karwan” will be to visit families that have suffered from lynch attacks to offer our atonement and solidarity.
“In each state, we will assess how the family is coping and what they need for livelihood and the pursuit of justice,” he said.
He added that before the visit, a team will reach there and try to constitute an ‘aman’ (peace) committee with members of Muslim, Dalit, and Hindu groups, Adivasis, and Christians.
These ‘aman’ committees will commit to support the family for justice and livelihood, and promote amity, goodwill, and peace in the larger community, he said.
“After we meet the family, we will with the help of the ‘aman’ committee organise a public meeting, an ‘aman sabha’ on the themes of love and solidarity,” Dushyant said.
There will also be singing on these themes by singers and artists who will accompany the Karwan, he added.
The first phase of the peace walk covers Assam, Jharkhand and Karnataka. “We will gather again at Tilak Vihar in Delhi on 11 September,” Anhad Managing Trustee Ovais Sultan Khan said.
In this second phase, the participants will travel together by buses.
From Delhi to western Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan, and on to Gujarat. This phase of the Karwan will culminate at Mhow on September 21.
In a third phase will be in Kandhmal and Tsundur. It will conclude in a large programme in Porbandar, the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi, on his birth anniversary October 2.
“In the course of the Karwan, we wish to symbolically acknowledge the long history of mass targeted violence against vulnerable communities — Muslim, Sikh, Christian and Dalit, after Independence, with their unmet justice and unhealed wounds, and hence we include Nellie, Delhi, Kandhamal and Tsundur,” said Dushyant.
“We will end the Karwan with hope, by visiting Mhow and Probander, birthplaces of Ambedkar and Gandhi — to remind us that that the core of democracy and our Constitution is fraternity,” he added.