Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Gujarat's topmost Dalit leader inches closer to Congress, attacks Modi, Shah, Rupani for shielding murder accused

By Our Representative
In a clear indication that Gujarat's top Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani is all set to shed his approach of refraining from asking Gujarat's seven percent Dalits to vote for the Congress in the upcoming assembly polls, the young Turk has suggested in a Facebook post that he might meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi with a list of demands, which Congress should implement if it came to power in Gujarat.
Even as asking "media friends" not to spread rumours on this score, Mevani said, "If I meet Rahul Gandhi or any other leader, it will not be for any personal gain but with a list of demands which the BJP has refused to meet. The meeting would like to seek clarification on what do the Congress leaders think about them them. Let me clarify, it wouldn't be a secret meeting."
Facebook post comes amidst his frontal attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani for "shielding" senior Saurashtra BJP leader Dinu Gogha Solanki, accused of murdering Right to Information activist Amit Jethva in July 2010.
Facebook screenshot on Congress
Addressing a crowded Gujarat media conference in Ahmedabad, Mevani said, "Even two days after the Supreme Court ordered to cancel the bail of the former BJP MP, and take him into custody, and begin neither day-to-day trial in order to examine the eight key witnesses were examined, Gujarat police and Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) have not nabbed him."
Insisting that this cannot happen "without active instructions from Modi, Shah and Rupani", Mevani, flanked by senior Gujarat High Court advocate Anand Yagnik, threatened, "If he is not arrested within 24 hours, we will start a strong protest movement seeking his arrest."
Mevani's criticism of the Modi-Shah-Rupani comes on the day Congress leader Rahul Gandhi is in Gujarat for electoral campaign. Amidst rumours floating around that he would directly ask Gujarat's seven per cent Dalits to vote for the Congress as elections approach, he added, "I will make my stand clear soon."
"However", he told Counterview, "For gaining our Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch support, the Congress must agree to several of our demands, including rehabilitating Gujarat Dalits, who have lost their livelihood because of discriminatory practices in rural areas and providing land to the landless Dalits."
Gujarat CM with Dinu Solanki
So far, during his visit to different parts of Gujarat, Mevani has been taking a pledge from different Dalit groups not to vote for the BJP, but has refrained from insisting that they must vote for the Congress in full strength. "I take pledge of groups of up to 1,500 people. Soon, the message goes viral on social media, especially on Facebook, reaching up to 1.5 lakh people", he added.
Continuing his attack on the top BJP leaders, Mevani told media, "Solanki is also being shielded in two other cases -- attempt on the life of Dalit activist Mahesh Makwana, another RTI activist who has taken on the mining mafia like Jethwa, not once but four times, and on Jetunben Salon. Every effort is being made not to proceed against the ex-BJP MP. The investigation is sought to be watered down in every possible way."
The Supreme Court order of October 30 on Solanki also insists, even if he is granted bail after the interrogation is over, he should not be allowed to enter Gujarat, as he has been allegedly trying to threaten or influence witnesses in every possible way. 
The Supreme Court order follows Solanki approaching the apex court after the Gujarat High Court had ordered a retrial in the Amit Jethva murder case. Jethva’s father Bhikhabhai had moved the High Court, demanding retrial and investigation.The High Court had called another trial being held at a Central Bureau of Investigation court a “miscarriage of justice” as Solanki was believed to have manipulated it. The court stayed the trials after 105 of 195 witnesses turned hostile.

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