Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Anti-Vibrant Gujarat protest fizzles out with arrest of Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, farmer activist Sagar Rabari

Mevani supporters, who were detained at Adalaj
By Our Representative
Anti-Narendra Modi protest against the Vibrant Gujarat world business summit, planned by top Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani with last-hour help of Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Samaj Gujarat, a non-political farmers' organizations, fizzled out on Tuesday, with the detention of the two leaders. A dozen of their supporters were also detained at Adalaj, the spot "fixed" for starting the protest.  
The two leaders were picked up from the residence at about 7 am in the morning, much before they could start their journey to reach the spot where the protest was to begin – Adalaj, about 10 kilometres from the Mahatma Mandir in Gujarat capital, Gandhinagar,where the Vibrant Gujarat business meet began on Tuesday.
Mevani, after taking Rabari's support, had announced on Monday that he would “disrupt” the high profile business summit. The Patels' pro-quota organization owing allegiance to young leader Hardik Patel, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, also declared support to Mevani.
The Vibrant Gujarat summit was inaugurated by the Prime Minister at Mahatma Mandir. There was strong police picket along all roads leading to Gandhinagar, anticipating the protest. Opposition political parties, including Congress and Aam Aadmi Party, kept themselves away from the move to disrupt the summit.
The two leaders were taken to the Gujarat University police station. Mevani had announced at that he, along with Rabari and other supporters, would start their protest at 12 noon to reach the Vibrant Summit site.
The police claimed they arrested the two leaders – convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch and general secretary of the Khedut Samaj Gujarat, respectively – for “violation” of the police commissioner’s notification under section-144 of CrPC, which prohibits rally or any public meeting of more than four persons.
The detentions took place following sharp differences surfacing between two main leaders who had planned to protest against the Vibrant Gujarat business summit – Alpesh Thakore, who has emerged as a top other backward caste (OBC) mobilizer in the recent past, and Mevani.
First Thakore went ahead with a separate rally early this month in Ahmedabad against the Gujarat government's “failure” to give employment to local people. Then, following talks with government officials, he declared his decision to withdraw his support to Mevani, as was “assured” that Gujaratis would get 85 per cent reservation in jobs.
This invited ire from the Dalit leadership, which wondered whether he was “afraid” of being arrested or there was some secret agreement with the state government.
On being detained, Mevani, in a WhatsApp message, said he had been “arrested by Gujarat police for announcing to disrupt the vibrant Gujarat summit”, which he termed “a fraud”. He added, farmers', Patidar leader and Dalits leaders all have been arrested.
He further said, there is “no scope” of doing any peaceful demonstration here in Gujarat, of asking Modi how many jobs he had create through these vibrant Gujarat summits. If one asks him why fertile land of farmers was being handed over to industries, one would be dubbed “anti-development”, he added.
Mevani wondered, whether land was available for "business groups and corporate giants, but not for Dalits and tribals, or other landless people." Mevani and Rabari were released at 10.00 pm at night.
In a separate development, around 100 fixed pay employees working with state government offices were detained in Gandhinagar as they tried to organize protest against the Vibrant Gujarat summit.

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