The protests come days after a 15-year-old Muslim boy, Junaid Khan, was stabbed to death on a train not far from the capital by a group of men. Eyewitnesses said the men screamed "beef eater" while attacking Khan.
Earlier this week, independent filmmaker and author Saba Dewan called for a nationwide protest urging Indians across the country to stand against the ongoing spate of violence. Wednesday's citizen protests, which were being organized in Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Thiruvananthapuram, Bhopal and Bengaluru, come amid reports that a group of people beat up a Muslim dairy owner in Jharkhand, and put his house on fire.
In Mumbai, about a hundred people, including prominent celebrities like Shabana Azmi, Kalki Koechlin, and Konkona Sen Sharma, took part in the protests.
"Silence is the beginning of violence."
The killing of Junaid Khan is one of the latest in a series of deaths from mob-related violence against Muslims in India, many triggered by accusations and suspicions of killing cows and consuming beef. For months, people have been calling attention to these killings.
Many Indians have questioned the government's silence — particularly from Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has failed to denounce recent killings.
According to an analysis by The Hindustan Times, 86% of those killed in cow-related violence in the last seven years have been Muslims. Nearly 97% of the attacks have taken place since Modi came to power in 2014.
In 2015, a man and his son in Dadri were fatally beaten for allegedly eating beef on Eid – the allegations were later proven to be false. A month after that killing, following widespread calls for condemnation, Modi finally broke his silence, saying that Muslims and Hindus should fight poverty, not each other.