#MuslimLivesMatter: Lucknow’s Silent Mutiny to save Muslim Lives

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Ironical though it may seem just as the sun set a stone’s throw away from the BJP headquarters at the heart of Hazratganj in Shaan e Awadh on a Sunday evening, a silent revolution was seen unfolding.

There is growing anger against the current happenings in the country. Mediapersons, theatre artists, scholars, RJs, social organisations and other secular forces came together at the Gandhi statue near GPO to raise their voice against the targeting of innocent minorities.

A human chain of 150 to 200 people came together who flashed slogans and colourful posters and banners.

More than 85% people have been killed by cow vigilantes since 2010. All of whom are Muslims says media reportage.

Reportedly over 97% attacks have happened as per reports during the present dispensation’s rule say activists and news pieces.

Of the 120 injured in cow vigilante attacks, surprisingly 52% have been based on rumours.

Adding to these startling statistics is the currently mooted case of Shambhu Lal Raigar who allegedly killed Mohammed Afrazul and posted videos.

In Rajsamand, Mohammed Afrazul Khan, a Bengali migrant worker in Rajasthan was burnt alive, allegedly for ‘love jihad’.

10 to 12 such incidents have occurred in Rajasthan in the last two years, and attributed it to the communalised atmosphere in the state.

The videos uploaded on social media by 14-year-old nephew of Raigar.

The police arrested Raigar and his nephew and declared a death penalty would be sought for the former.

Reports say Rajasthan Director General of Police (DGP) said prima facie reports cited the man seen in the video was not a ‘normal human being’. A further investigation has been initiated.

The Rajasthan government has announced an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh to the family of the victim, the West Bengal government provided widow pension to deceased’s wife and assured employment to the kin.

Activists who turned up at the event led by senior activists Sadaf Jafar and Rahat Fatima said that there is a silent churning within. Adding that there is a deliberate attempt to divert attention from issues that needs immediate addressing like the murder of Justice BH Loya. The question that many asked was that how is it possible that these videos surface when the key focus of the media was on the much talked about case and the common man was seeking answers.

The protest comes at a time when one of the most respected judicial voices in the country, Justice AP Shah has said how a judge deciding whether BJP chief Amit Shah should be tried for murder died in December 2014 must be investigated.

The protest titled Muslim Lives matter took inspiration from the much talked about Black lives matter movement in the West. Students, activists and members of the Muslim community marked their presence like a similar movement at Delhi among other cities.

Communication Manager at Association for Advocacy and Legal Initiatives (AALI), Sadaf Jafar says, “The entire question that bothers us is that now who is human. Despite regular speeches and talks there is very little condemnation from the powers that be on issues like lynching and targeting of minorities. In a cycle of regularized violence there is urgent need for those at the helm of affairs to speak their heart and mind. While many protests have come and gone, we planned to create a silent human chain so that atleast the silence pricks their conscience.”

Sadaf adds, “One Cannot sit back and watch. Looking at collaborating with organizations. Legal and social organizations have come together with theatre artists, RJs mediapersons, NGOs, students and other secular forces. Things under the present government are dismal but there is hope.”

The society must come together and take the lead in steering change. We are against government but not country.

She says, “Media needs to highlight the woes and talk of the aspirations of the poorest of the poor. The media will have to have a neutral standpoint to further the cause of the varied stakeholders in such a movement.”

Another social activist, Rahat Fatima says, “Agenda of the coming together is that innocents are being targeted. At times when every life counts it is yet another attempt to raise one’s voice. Nearly 150 to 200 people have come in.”

A popular face in the city, RJ Aamir says, “Radio talks about compassion, love, human rights and oneness. It always tries to bridge the gap between the varied sections of society. It works for the oppressed and the needy. It focuses on the right to food for eg a campaign called No Plate Khali. Media needs to get its priorities right where I find a great deal of intent lacking. Follow ups in varied serious and relatable issues are missing which needs to be done at right earnest.”


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