This is a guest post by LAVANYA NOTT
In February 2013, George Zimmerman, a 28-year old neighbourhood watch coordinator in Sanford, Florida, stalked and fatally shot 17-year old unarmed Trayvon Martin, an African-American high school student. In July of that year, Zimmerman was acquitted of his crime.
On August 9, 2014, unarmed Black teenager Michael Brown was shot several times by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson, Missouri after Brown stole several packs of cigarillos from a neighbourhood store. In late November of that same year, a grand jury did not indict Wilson of his crime.
The Black Lives Matter movement began after Zimmerman’s acquital, and the Ferguson non-indictment saw the movement surge forward, with thousands of citizens taking to the streets all over the United States in protest. In the months that followed, the movement gained rapid momentum, spurred on by yet another non-indictment—that of a White police officer in Staten Island who put 43-year-old Eric Garner in a fatal chokehold in broad daylight, without provocation. His death was ruled by a medical examiner as a homicide, but his killer Daniel Pantaleo escaped indictment.
In mid-September 2015, Mohammad Akhlaq’s house in Dadri was broken into, his family attacked, and his life taken by a rampaging mob of RSS workers who were responding to a rumor that Akhlaq killed a cow and subsequently consumed its meat on Eid.
Less than a month later, a gang of upper-caste Rajputs set fire to the house of a sleeping Dalit family, killing two-year-old Vaibhav and his nine-month-old sister Divya. This attack, in BJP-ruled Faridabad, was set against the backdrop of a long-standing caste-related dispute between the Dalit and Rajput communities in the city.