MUSLIMS PROTEST ACROSS INDIA DEMANDING EQUAL RIGHTS

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Muslims Protest for Equal Citizen Campaign at Parliament Street, New Delhi on 13th October, 2018. (Photo Courtesy– Mahtab Alam)

Just ahead of the Lok Sabha elections #VoteHamaraBaatHamari campaign is initiated to assert Equal Rights for Muslims across India

Ghazanfar Abbas | Caravan Daily

NEW DELHI— Few months ahead of Lok Sabha elections, thousands of Muslims across the country came together on Saturday to kick start a big campaign— #EqualCitizens – “Vote Hamara Baat Humari” to catch the attention of all the opposition parties and India citizens to highlight the plight of Muslims across the nation. The campaign aims to highlight the growing numbers of fake encounter in the name of law and order, lynching cases in the name of cow protection, missing names from voters list, illegal arrests, and systemic discrimination and injustice that Muslims are facing in their own country.

October 13 was marked as the “Day of Resistance” in several villages, towns and major cities across India to demand Equal Citizenship for Muslims in India.

Speaking Caravan Daily about the need for the campaign, founder of Association of Muslim Professionals (AMP) and the brain behind this campaign, Aamir Edresy, said, “Through this campaign we are asserting that Indian Muslims constitute around 20 percent of the total Indian population and we can’t be isolated. This is unconstitutional. Our demand is to protect our rights as an equal citizen of India. Apart from the increasing number of lynching and fake encounters cases, there is a systematic discrimination against Muslim in delivering justice.”

Edresy then questioned, “We also want to ask the so-called secular political parties — Why all their talks are moving around the narrative set-up by the right wing? Why the talk on real issues are not being addressed. If Vivek Tiwari (shot dead by UP cops recently) is being discussed then why Mustakeem and Naushad (both daily wagers, killed by UP police in an alleged ‘encounter’ in the presence of media) is not being discussed? We are highlighting the plight of Vivek’s family, while the family of Mustakeem and Naushad is striving in hunger?

(Photo Courtesy– Mahtab Alam)

On a joint call, the protest was observed in several cities including Mumbai, New Delhi, Bengaluru, Varanasi, Lucknow, Pune, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Gaya, Dhanbad, Chittor, Aligarh and Bulandshaher. Muslim professionals associated to various field ranging right from academics to journalism to activism have appealed to the political establishment to give space to the issues being faced by the community.

While protesting in New Delhi, the protesters were seen carrying placards with slogans like, “I Am A Muslim and I Matter”, “Muslim Lives Matter”, “We Demand Equal Rights for All Citizens” and “Injustice Anywhere Is An Threat To Everywhere”.

Caravan Daily also spoke several individual Muslims and professionals participating in the protest, to know their views and opinions regarding this movement.

Woman activist Mariya Salim, while speaking to Caravan Daily said: “I as a Muslim woman participating in this campaign so that our voices get heard. We are discussed in public but the mike is not given to us to say what we want to say. We will not allow the BJP play around the Muslim women issues as a political tactic. We as Muslim community are capable of resolving our issues.” Adding to that another protestor, Feroz Rabbani said: “Today the environment in the country is such that a Muslim fears to freely wear his skull cap and kurta-pajama. We urge all Indians to not to neglect these issues that we are facing as a community.”

Adding to that advocate Anas Tanvir said: “As per data the percentage of Muslims in jail are much higher than their total population percentage in India. They don’t even have the money to hire advocates to fight their cases. For long we looked at secular political parties to speak for us. As of now we are being asked to become invisible by them too. We refuse to be invisible. If they will not speak for us, we will speak for our issues.”

(Photo– Caravan Daily)

Dr. Aftab Alam, a faculty at the Delhi University added: “This is very sad that since 71 years of our independence the Muslim citizens of India are not being seen as equals. The targeted violence against Muslims is due to the culpability of the state and its impunity.”

Activist Asna Nausheen felt that the situation was getting worse for Muslims in India. She said: “The situation is getting worse for Muslims, as we are not even being counted as Indian Muslims. Media must put a stop to the Hindu vs Muslim debates which is intended to divide us. It’s high time that they talk about the real issues.”

Feroz Rabbani, a protester urged that all Indians should acknowledge the issue and come together to defeat the fascist agenda.

(Photo — Caravan Daily)

In the last four and half years, several dozen people, mostly Muslims, have been lynched by brutal mobs of cow vigilantes in the name of cow slaughter, beef consumption and cattle theft. Almost all the incidents have taken place in BJP-ruled states like Rajasthan, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Jharkhand and Assam.

Since Yogi Adityanath became chief minister of UP in March 2017, over 1200 encounters have taken place in UP in which around 70 alleged criminals have been gunned down by the police. Around half of them were Muslims.

How to Join Campaign

As part of the event, the organisers have appealed to post pictures of the protests on social media using the hashtag #EqualCitizens.  People can connect on Facebook page — Vote Hamara Baat Hamari and Tweeter @Equal_Citizen. Besides to join the movement a free missed call service is also available on 80-100-200-40 number.

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