Actor expresses solidarity with kin of mob lynching victims

Mumbai: The family members of several ‘ill-fated’ persons from Haryana’s Junaid Khan to Maharashtra’s Mohsin Sheikh and several other victims of hate crimes, on Sunday, came together seeking a stringent law to criminalise lynching and other such crimes.

Their demand was backed by actor Naseeruddin Shah and noted activists like Subhashini Ali, Teesta Setalvad, etc. The families of such victims were brought under one roof by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), which had organised a convention highlighting the ‘complicity’ of the government (Union and States) in hate crimes.

The event held at Dadar commenced with the family members and also the victims sharing their ordeal with the public in a jam-packed auditorium.

The family members of Junaid Khan (16), who was thrown out of a running train in Haryana allegedly because of him being a Muslim by some miscreants shared how brutally their loved ones was murdered by stabbing nearly 60 times.

Similarly, the families of Nitin Aage, a Dalit boy, who was killed for having a love affair with an upper-caste girl shared their ordeal. The next was Satyabhama Bai, a Dalit woman from Latur, who was paraded naked by some upper caste villagers owing to her caste. She was followed by the brother of the Dalit boy, who was lynched in Una, Gujarat by Hindus alleging him of trading cow meat.

Others to share their tragedies were Arif Mewate, whose brother was lynched by Gaurakshaks in Ahmedabad over cow theft allegations. Having heard their tragedies, supports poured in for these families. The first one to lend support was actor Naseeruddin Shah, who heard each of them attentively.

Shah said, “This is the first time I have met them all. I heard each of them and I can say that whatever trolling and criticism I received over my statements, is nothing in front of their tragedies.”

“These families have gone through a lot of pain and difficulties. I assure them that I am standing with them all, forever,” Shah concluded.

Shah also supported their demands to bring in a stringent law to penalise and criminalise hate crimes in the country. Subsequently, noted activist Subhashini Ali expressed her views on the rising number of hate crimes and blamed the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for all the incidents.

“It is not as if such hate crimes are happening in the country only from the last five or six years. I agree that such crimes have been there before but the only issue is, people today in power, zero respect for our constitution,” Ali told the audience.

“These people in power had in 1950 itself declared that they cannot respect or accept the Indian Constitution. They had said they would implement Manusmriti, which is an institutionalised lynching,” Ali added.

Without directly naming the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), Ali accused the right-wing group of continuously lying to the citizens and portraying themselves as ‘patriots.’

“Those who did not participate in our freedom struggle and were in fact against India’s independence, they have redefined nationalism and patriotism.

These people must be exposed in front of the public and thus we cannot be mute spectators and must come together and discuss how to put an end to such hate crimes,” Ali said.