Kolkata: The lynching of 24-year-old Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand has stirred a series of protests across India, including Jharkhand, West Bengal, and Delhi. So have hate crimes, as three more incidents were reported from major cities of India—Kolkata, Mumbai and Delhi.
A Muslim cab driver in the national capital was allegedly forced to chant 'Jai Sri Ram'. In Mumbai, a similar incident took place, where Faisal Usman an Uber driver was thrashed and allegedly forced to chant 'Jai Sri Ram'.
Incidentally, a day after Tabrez’s death from merciless beating, Kolkata too witnessed a hate crime, where Sharukh Haldar, a madarsa teacher along with two other Muslim men, was assaulted and beaten in a local train in the heart of the city.
In all the three cases, forcing victims to chant religious slogan—Jai Sri Ram -- seems a common thread.
The incidents evoked criticism from all quarters. Understanding the need for creating pressure on both the state and Central government, a series of protests, public meetings were organised in many cities.
United Against Hate, a movement against hate crime, spearheaded protest rallies in more than 70 cities, some other big and small organisations also came together in other districts to protest against Tabrez’s lynching and other hate crimes.
SIO and other NGOs protest in West Bengal for the justice for Tabrez Ansari and against other hate crimes
In Kolkata, since June 26, a number of NGOs and human rights organisations assembled at Bipin Behari Ganguly Street to hold a public meeting to raise public concern on the same. A street play was also been staged.
Speaking to eNewsroom, Asit Roy, a social activist associated with Medha Patkar’s National Alliance for People’s Movement, said, “This public meeting was organised on June 26, in the memory of the dark Emergency days of 1975. Needless to say, at present, we have an undeclared emergency in our country since 2014. Mob lynching has become a norm today. The number of such cases has only increased with time. So, through this public meeting, we condemn not just the mob lynching of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand but also the assault on the madarsa teacher in Kolkata by the saffron brigade.”
Aftab Ahmed, Assistant Secretary of Association for Protection of Democratic Rights, said, “It’s not just in Bengal or Jharkhand that Muslims are being attacked. This trend is common across all Indian states. Mob lynching of Muslims only reflects the increasing fascism in the country, which needs to be countered vehemently.”
Contrary to the general perception that Bengal is a safe haven for Muslims, the state has registered at least five mob lynching cases.
Muslim organisations like Jamiat-e-Islami-Hind have threatened to take to the streets on a regular basis if adequate action is not taken to reign in the cow vigilantes.
Perturbed by the increasing number of hate crimes against Muslims, Bhasha Chatana Samity organised a protest at Sealdah Station on June 27, while the Student Islamic Organisation of India (SIO) organised a human chain at Kolkata’s iconic Dharmatalla crossing demanding justice in both Tabrez Ansari and Sharukh Haldar’s case.
The president of SIO West Bengal, Osman Gani, said, “Recently mob lynching in the name of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ has become common. The government should make a powerful law to stop such incidents.’’
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who was maintaining silence over the Kolkata train assault case, met the victims and announced compensation worth Rs 50,000 each. However, activists believe that this is not enough as the culprits are yet to be arrested.
The Delhi Waqf Board has also come forward to extend a helping hand to Ansari’s widow Sahista Parveen, by offering a job along with compensation worth Rs 5,00,000.
On Friday, cities like Deoband, Bhopal, Giridih, Bhojpur and Gadhani witnessed similar protest meets.
Voices against mob lynching and hate crimes being committed in India are being raised internationally. On Saturday, people are slated to hit the streets of Boston, Unites States, to condemn the increasing trend of religious racism in India.