More than one lakh Muslims on Monday congregated at “Shahidon ki Yaadgaar” (martyrs’ memorial) at Malegaon, a historical site, in response to a call for a law against mob lynching, reported the Indian Express.
Calling it the first rally by the community to protest mob lynching, the organisers said the killing of Tabrez Ansari, 24, from Jharkhand, was the final trigger.
Clerics of Jamiat Ulema, the umbrella NGO which called for the silent protest, urged governments to take note that on a “weak call” the entire textile town had “come out to safeguard the Constitution”. They said, “We do not seek revenge, and don’t believe in violence. We believe in the rule of law.”
The rally had people merging at Malegaon fort before making their way to the martyrs’ monument.
According to the report, Maulana Umrain Mahfouz Rahmani, secretary, All-India Muslim Personal Law Board said: “The issue (mob lynching) has pierced our hearts; there seems to be no end. Ab bardaash ke bhi bahar hai (now it’s unbearable)…. Muslims are unlike other communities. If any other community was the target, they would have responded by now. Largely, the entire faith responds to the elders and clerics.”
He added, “We are doing our best and holding them together, convincing them, asking them to show restraint, praying with them. But now even we are being tested. In Pehlu Khan’s case, the way the government machinery behaved was heart-breaking —- in most cases there are no FIRs and then our community has to watch photographs and videos of the lynching; then see the accused being garlanded by ministers..”
At the protest venue, Rahmani delivered a fiery speech: “Today’s historical rally is enough to tell the entire country that Muslims will not tolerate oppression for long. We say it clearly: mob lynching is a mobilised murder and is being spread according to a well-devised plan. This is state and non-state terrorism, and it is obligatory on all citizens to stop terrorism. In the pure land of Sita, we can (now) hear footsteps of Ravan, and it is our collective responsibility to stop this.”
Recently, Rajasthan police filed a charge sheet against the lynching victim Pehlu Khan and his family.
Khan was beaten to death by self-styled cow vigilantes in Alwar district, when he was transporting cattle to his native village in Haryana, two years ago.