Delhiites come together to say no to intolerance

Relatives of Pehlu Khan, Junaid and Najeeb Ahmed take part in massive protest

Ajmad Khan (27) chose to break from the norm and wear his skullcap on Wednesday. It wasn’t because he had become more religious. It was to prove that despite his brother’s brutal murder before his eyes, he was not scared.

The third of five brothers of Pehlu Khan, who was brutally lynched by self-proclaimed cow vigilantes in Alwar in April, said he had come to be a part of the ‘Not in My Name’ protest at Jantar Mantar to fight the fear that is being instilled among them in the name of ‘patriotism’.

‘I do this for my country’

“If I hadn’t mustered the courage to get out of my house today, I never would have never done it. I did this for myself. I did this for my brother. More importantly, I did it for the people of my country,” Ajmad said after the protest.

Standing next to him were the relatives of 15-year-old Junaid, who was stabbed to death while returning from Delhi after Id shopping.

Junaid’s parents and siblings were supposed to be at the protest but cancelled at the last moment after his brothers were allegedly intimidated by some men on Tuesday while returning from the police station after recording their statements.

“I cannot send my sons back to the place where my Junaid was killed. I fear for their lives. They are all I have now,” Junaid’s mother Saira said over the phone.

Junaid’s cousins, who had come to the silent protest, said he was beaten up like an animal in front of everybody but no one raised their voice.

Atmosphere of fear

In Pehlu’s case too, Ajmad said he clearly remembers the day his brother was dragged out of the vehicle and beaten till they were sure he was dead.

The 55-year-old was slammed against a road divider, where he allegedly banged his ribs and bled to death. The mob continued kicking and beating his lifeless body.

“I screamed at the mob to spare my brother. We were shoved in a single ambulance like animals. They had no intention of sparing our lives,” he said.

Majib, Pehlu’s relative, said a feeling of uncertainty and fear had enveloped their village in Behror, Rajasthan. He said people have stopped visiting each other’s houses fearing violence.

“In our village, people mainly deal in dairy products. How can they just see cows and decide that we are going to butcher them? The sad part is that no one from the government has come to meet our family to even express remorse,” the relative said.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 2:47:40 AM |

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