Turning out in protest against the recent spate of lynchings of Muslims, thousands of intellectuals and relatives of the victims were joined by the common people in demonstrations in Mumbai, Kolkata and New Delhi. Waving flags and banners of “Not In My Name” and “Stop Cow Terrorism”, they registered their dismay at the continuous stream of Muslims lynched on suspicions of possessing and transporting beef. The cow is considered sacred in most parts of the Hindu-majority India and there are laws in many states that prohibit cow slaughter. The outrage was capped by the murder of Junaid Khan, a 16 year-old boy who was stabbed multiple times on a moving train in Haryana along with several of his relatives. He succumbed to his injuries, and his relatives have said that the arguments preceding the lynching was dotted with anti-Muslim slurs. The incident left quite a number of people shocked, as the police struggled to name the accused even though the entire episode happened in a crowded train. After days of pressure on him, Prime Minister Modi spoke out against cow vigilantes and condemned them as anti-Gandhi at the Sabarmati Ashram in Gujarat. Even so, other members of his government have been at odds with Modi, whose BJP government is often seen as hand in glove with the Sangh organisations, many of whose workers have been accused of violence in the three years of the Modi government.
In Mumbai, protesters refrained from shouting slogans but held up banners reading “stand up to Hindu terrorism” and “say no to Brahminism”.
In Kolkata, singer-music composer Anjan Dutta said, “the rising trend of Hindutva is dangerous”.
“I am afraid of the situation in my country now. We need to speak against this monstrosity. India is a place for everyone,” Dutta said.
Even as the nation reeled under the brutality of the attack in Haryana, another man was lynched and his house set on fire by a mob that suspected him of cow slaughter, making it five killings in three months, almost all of them in broad daylight and in busy areas.