Little did she knew, that a simple facebook post will go so far and such successful. Saba Dewan, a Delhi-based documentary filmmaker, called for a protest on a series of lynchings in different parts of India.
So far, citizen protests have been planned in Hyderabad, Delhi, Kolkata, and Mumbai. Coming to International states London, Karachi and Cambridge also carried out the protests. The protest in Delhi was carried out by offering condolences to the families of Hafiz Junaid, a 16-yr-old boy and Pehlu Khan, a dairy farmer who was lynched by cattle vigilantes in Rajasthan in April. It will be followed by music and poetry performances by the likes of Rabbi Shergil and Maya Rao.
“Since few years, a systemic violence is being unleashed on Dalit, Muslims and minorities, with was a rising sense of disquiet about what the hell was happening,” said Saba when asked about why she felt the need to organize the protest.
“The tipping point came with the lynching of Junaid. The first lynching in 2015 shook us up. Over the last two-and-a-half years, lynchings were getting normalised and that was frightening. But Junaid was just a child. He was 15 and got killed by a mob near Delhi, my city. It was shattering. I was upset that evening and kept wondering why someone wasn’t starting an organised protest so that I could join it”
“We wait for an eternity for someone to protest, but we are the citizens of the country and we have a stake in it. We had no idea how this would grow and pan out. I just asked some people on Facebook if we can do this protest. The response was very encouraging. Then someone suggested we make an event page. The next morning we realised that this was going viral.”
“Through the protests, we are taking responsibility as citizens of the country. We are not silent, we are protesting, speaking out loud. We are demanding that this government is duty bound to protect the life and integrity of this country and all its citizens and the the fundamental rights of the Constitution. The right to life is a fundamental right,” Saba shared her thoughts on Government’s silence.
“The mobs have a sense of impunity because they can think they can get away with it. That culture of impunity has to stop. The government has to issue strict orders that the targeted violence of minorities and Dalits will not be tolerated”
“It came instinctively. It is an old slogan and rallying cry from the anti-Vietnam war movement from the US in the 1970s. It has been part of a public consciousness. It is an assertion that I don’t agree. I am not a part of this,” Saba explained about her decision on naming the campaign ‘Not In My Name’
“Orijit Sen designed a poster which is being used everywhere. Since then, people have been writing in, asking for posters”
It is now beyond my wildest expectations. I can’t explain it. It is heartening and gives so much hope. There were so many people feeling as distraught at the hatred, violence and all of that which seems to be gripping India. it is a narrative of love and coexistence and secular values.
“We were quiet till the other day. Now there are many cities which are holding protests. There is a certain visibility of citizens who believe in the values enshrined in the Constitution, human dignity, secularism and basic decency. It is a very different discourse that has taken over. There is a collective ownership of the protest. The process has begun and people are saying what we earlier only said amongst ourselves and not on the streets: that the discrimination and violence are not in our name and we condemn them,” Saba expressed her expectations on the outcome of the campaign.