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USA-India: Protests in Boston and Chicago call for an end to mob lynchings in India

Tuesday 2 July 2019, by siawi3


Protests in Boston and Chicago call for an end to mob lynchings in India

Published on: July 1, 2019

Photos here

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 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.



June 26, 2019 / 5:21 PM / 6 days ago

Protests in Indian cities after Muslim man is lynched, Modi says he is ’pained’

Zeba Siddiqui

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - Protests were held in several Indian cities on Wednesday following the lynching of a Muslim man last week by a Hindu mob that suspected he was a thief.

Photo: A woman holds a placard during a protest against the lynching of a Muslim man Tabrez Ansari by a Hindu mob, in Kolkata, India, June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Rupak De Chowdhuri

Increasing anger about the killing in the eastern state of Jharkhand prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make his first comments on the matter on Wednesday, telling the upper house of parliament he was “pained” to hear about it and calling for “the strictest possible punishment to the accused”.

Cellphone videos shared on local television channels showed 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari tied to a pole and begging for mercy as some men beat him with sticks and forced him to chant his devotion to Hindu gods.

Ansari was caught by a mob of villagers who suspected he was a thief in the Seraikela-Kharsawan area of Jharkhand on June 18, said Avinash Kumar, a deputy superintendent of police in the area.

Eleven villagers have been arrested and a special investigation team set up to probe the matter, Kumar said.

Villagers called the police and lodged a case against Ansari, and police took him to the hospital, but Ansari succumbed to his injuries while in custody four days later, Kumar said. Two police officers from the area have been suspended, police told local media.

Dozens of people gathered in the capital New Delhi carrying placards calling for justice for Ansari’s killing. In western Gujarat and eastern West Bengal state hundreds took to the streets carrying posters that read ‘No more lynching in the name of religion.’

Protests were planned in about 50 cities. It wasn’t immediately clear how many took place.

Hate crimes against minorities have spiked in India since Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power in 2014. Dozens of Muslim men have been attacked or lynched by Hindu mobs since then, many on suspicion of slaughtering cows, which are considered holy in the Hindu religion.

Two days after Ansari’s killing, a Muslim religious school teacher in West Bengal’s Kolkata city alleged he’d been pushed off a moving train when he refused to chant his devotion to Hindu gods as some Hindu men in the train demanded.

Many people took to social media to condemn the BJP-led government in Jharkhand state, where civil society groups have recorded at least 13 lynchings of minorities, mainly Muslims, in the past three years.

The United States last week released an annual report on international religious freedoms that said religious intolerance was increasing in India and extremist narratives had “facilitated an egregious and ongoing campaign of violence, intimidation, and harassment against non-Hindu and lower-caste Hindu minorities.”

India rejected the report saying it saw “no locus standi for a foreign government to pronounce on the state of our citizens’ constitutionally protected rights.”

“Because he was a Muslim he was beaten so brutally,” Ansari’s wife Shaishta Ansari told the television channel NDTV.

“My husband was my only support. Who will I live for now? I want justice.”

Reporting by Zeba Siddiqui in NEW DELHI; Additional reporting by Subrata Nag Choudhury in KOLKATA and Amit Dave in AHMEDABAD; Editing by Martin Howell