More than one lakh Muslims gathered in Malegaon’s Shahidon ki Yaadgaar (martyrs’ memorial) in Maharashtra to demand the enactment of a new law against lynchings. The organisers of the protest said that the gruesome killing of Tabrez Ansari in Jharkhand was the trigger point for them to organise this protest rally.
The speakers made fiery and emotional speeches urging those attending the rally to spread the message among fellow Muslims that victims of lynchings must not show helplessness in chanting Jai Shri Ram. Instead, the speakers said, the victims should accept martyrdom.
Maulana Umrain Mahfouz Rahmani, secretary, All-India Muslim Personal Law Board, told The Indian Express, “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.”
24-year-old Tabrez was mercilessly thrashed by a mob, which also forced him to chant Jai Shri Ram and Jai Hanuman. He had succumbed to his injuries four days later. The state police had come under considerable condemnation for arresting Tabrez when he was in desperate need of medical treatment. Later a CCTV video had emerged showing cops entering a hospital while walking alongside Tabrez. Many had raised questions asking why a victim of brutal beating was not taken to the hospital on a stretcher.
“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..”Rahmani was further quoted by Indian Express.
In a letter submitted to the Maharashtra government, the Muslim community has urged the President to write to all state governments and Union Territories about lynchings and remind the state heads of their constitutional duties. They have also demanded Rs 50 lakh compensation to the family of each victim of mob lynching.