The residents of Ballabhgarh in Haryana have decided to wear black arm bands on Eid to silently register their protest against growing numbers of lynchings across the country, targeting mostly people from the minority communities. Their decision has found resonance with a large section of people, from all communities, who have decided to copy the gesture to express solidarity with Muslims.
A shadow hangs over Eid this year with a spate of lynching deaths across the northern states, frequently linked to cow trade, slaughter or suspected consumption of cow meat. A teenaged Muslim boy from Ballabhgarh was stabbed to death on a train last week. The accused is said to have told the police: "I was drunk. They told me to attack the boys because they are cow eaters."
Ramesh, a resident of Palwal, is charged with stabbing 16-year-old Junaid Khan and injuring his brothers Shaqir and Hashim, cousin Moeen, and friend Mohsin on a Mathura-bound train on Thursday, on their way back from Eid shopping at Sadar Bazar.
"We are not hitting the streets or chanting slogans, but we want the government to know that we are unhappy, angry. Our Id has been shrouded in darkness," Asaduddin Khan, a Khandawali resident, told the Telegraph.
Photos of the blood-splattered compartment were all over social platforms, infuriating many,
What started as a scuffle over berth, soon turned communal with a mob repeatedly calling the brothers "anti-nationals" and "beef eaters", reported Hindustan Times. Junaid died on the train. While his mother Saira said she will never be able to celebrate Eid in her lifetime, his father said there will be "silence of mourning this Eid."
Six people were detained and subsequently let off after the incident and the Haryana Railway Police has formed four teams to "speak to regular passengers in the train to try and create a picture of the exact sequence of events that led up to the murder".
Activists in Lucknow urged the community to wear the black arm band during their Eid namaz in the morning. "It is not a religious point alone, but more so of justice and unity as even those who follow religion and those who don't follow it are going to wear the black bands in solidarity on Monday," Lucknow resident Rajeev Yadav told the Times of India.
Muslims from Mewat district have also decided to show solidarity with Ballabhgarh over the brutal killing. Junaid's death has opened up an old wound for Mewat residents. Dairy farmer Pehlu Khan, a resident of Mewat, was lynched by a blood-thirsty mob in Alwar in Rajasthan when he was coming home from a cattle fair after buying a cow.