Activists from several Muslim organizations along with fellow-Mumbaikars assembled at Azad Maidan on Wednesday evening to denounce the terror attack on Amarnath yatris in south Kashmir, express condolences to the bereaved families, wish speedy recovery to the injured and to extend their solidarity and good wishes to the devotees who are still on the pilgrimage.The demonstrators also applauded, Salim Shaikh, the driver of the targeted pilgrims’ bus whose courage and presence of mind saved some 50 precious lives. The gathering also welcomed the sagacious response of Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, to the terror attack. In a Tweet message he took note of the fact that the dastardly attack was strongly condemned by all sections of Kashmiri society. This shows that the spirit of Kashmiriyat is alive, he said and questioned the canard that all Kashmiris are terrorists.
Repeated chants of “atankwad pe hallo bol”, “atankvad murdabad” rent the air. It was apparent from the messages on several of the placards carried at the demo as also the statements at the rally that the citizens’ protest was but an extension of the “Not-in-my-Name campaign launched across several cities last week to protest killings in the name of religion. The week-old protest was against Hindutva’s lynch mobs or terror squads, who masquerading as gau rakshaks have been targeting Muslims (primarily) and Dalits in state after state in the past year or so.
As one participant at today’s protest meet put it, “It was non-Muslims who spoke out against the lynching of Muslims then. Similarly, it is our moral duty to be in the forefront of citizens speaking out against the targeting of Hindu pilgrims in the name of Muslims or Islam”.
Participants at the protest included activists from Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD), Bhartiya Muslim Mahila Andolan (BMMA), Maulana Azad Vichar Manch and the All India Milli Council.
“The attack on the Amarnath pilgrims by terrorists is reprehensible and must be condemned in the strongest terms”, said Teesta Setalvad, Secretary, Citizens for Justice and Peace. “We welcome the measured and mature response of the Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh in the face of this grave provocation. The most welcome thing today is that citizens from all faiths are coming out on the streets to raise their voice against violence, be it the targeting of Muslims by Hindutva’s lynch mobs or terrorists attacking Hindu pilgrims now”.
“Protecting the life and property of all citizens is the first responsibility of any government. If the government fails in its primary duty, it is expected of the opposition parties to raise their voice, hold the government accountable. With both government and the opposition parties having failed miserably in doing their respective job, citizens have now decided to come to the forefront to call a halt to the politics of hate and violence,” said Javed Anand, Convener, Indian Muslims for Secular Democracy (IMSD).
“Only love and brotherhood can keep this country united”, said advocate Yasin Momin who travelled all the way from Bhiwandi to participate in the rally.
“The attack on Amarnath yatris is an attack on India,” said Hussain Dalwai, Rajya Sabha MP and president of the Maulana Azad Vichar Manch.
The Imam of a Bandra mosque said the people of this country will never allow the designs of communalists and terrorists to succeed in their divisive agenda. Similar sentiments were expressed by MA Khaled and Salim Alware of the All India Milli Council.
“Through the ‘Not-in-my-name’ campaign, citizens have spoken out loud and clear now that they are for democracy and communal amity and that they will no longer tolerate hatred, intolerance, extremism and violence be it in the name of Hindus or Muslims,” said IMSD’s Co-convener Feroze Mithiborwala.
Spontaneous demonstrations were also held in Muslim-predominant Bhindi Bazar, Mumbra and Mira Road localities on Tuesday.
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