Skip to main content

Ahmedabad mega rally asks Dalits to apply for fire arms en mass, as political parties "failed" to protect them

Jignesh Mevani addressing Dalit mega rally
By Our Representative
Holding their their first major mega rally in Ahmedabad on Sunday, Gujarat's Dalit rights groups kept at bay major political parties, including Congress, BJP, Aam Aadmi Party and Bahujan Samaj Party. The show of strength, in which thousands from Ahmedabad, Saurashtra and North Gujarat thronged to participate, was held to protest against the brutal thrashing of Dalit youths on July 11 in Una, where they were attacked by cow vigilantes.
Calling for the rejection of the Gujarat model which allegedly seeks to "encourage" atrocities" against Dalits, the organizers – under the umbrella body Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti – admitted that they kept political parties away as they have "failed" to give any justice to the Dalits. These political parties were merely interested in taking political advantage of the Una event against the backdrop of the forthcoming elections in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh, where Dalits form 26 and 21 per cent of the voters, as against Gujarat's just 6.7 per cent.
The BJP, it is well-known, had characterized the Una incident a “law-and-order problem”, sought to be whipped up by Rahul Gandhi, Arvind Kejriwal and Mayawati with an eye of polls in Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.
The rally began about one-and-a-half late, at 1.00 pm, as the ground got filled with rainwater at several spots and the stage had to be shifted. A Dalit BJP corporator, present at the in her individual capacity alleged that the spot was allocated to ensure that the rally failed to succeed. "The cops picketing on the highway at several spots created hurdles and did not allow Dalits in trucks to enter Ahmedabad", she said.
Held a little-known ground near Torrent Power Plant in Ahmedabad's after the cops kept the rally organizer guessing for several days about the required permission, the star attraction at the rally were the family members of three Dalits who died in Thangadh police firing in Gujarat's Surendrangar district in 2012.  Several Muslims activists also participated. There were slogans at the meet such as "Hindu-Muslim keta zindabad" and "Dalit-Muslim ekta zindabad".
Participants at the rally
The final permission for the rally was given on Saturday afternoon, that too for 5,000 people, after the cops rejected the organizers' plea to hold the rally near the district collector's office in Ahmedabad citing “security reasons.”
Addressing the rally, Jignesh Mevani, convener of the Ahmedabad rally, said, "The state government and police had been trying to prevent Dalits from uniting and coming under one banner, but considering the anger and mood of Dalits, police had to surrender and allow us to hold the event". 
Mevani, who is a young Dalit rights advocate, also called upon the Dalits to stop scavenging dead animals and manual enter into the gutters to clean it. "We must apply to for licensed firearms to protect ourselves, as the government has failed to do it", he said. He added, "What would you expect from a government which has failed to even charge sheet the accused in the Thangadh police firing? You cannot expect justice for Una either. We want the government to institute anti-atrocities Act against the Una culprits."
A charter of demands for Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel announced at the mega rally included quickly arresting those who attacked Una Dalits as per provisions of Prevention of Anti-Social Activities (PASA) Act, so that the attackers were not set freely unless reviewed by a High Court committee, and arresting all those who are seen thrashing the Dalits in the videos that went viral, as also the cops and the sarpanch knew of and were “involved”.
The demands further insisting on providing alternative employment those Dalits who give up the “undignified” job of skinning dead animals, and the to safai karmacharis engaged in “inhuman” job of manual scavenging, and providing housing units to Dalits in urban areas, because they are even today “socially boycotted, discriminated against and exploited socially, economically and sexually in Gujarat's villages.
“We want the chief minister to discuss these issues across the table with Dalits. Till our demands are met, the demonstrations across Gujarat will continue. If the chief minister could meet the Patidar leaders, why can't she meet us?”, asked Mevani.
The BJP government in Gujarat appeared fearful of the political fallout of mahasammelan. Chief minister Anandiben Patel appealed for peace, saying, with reference to the rally, “People with with vested political interests are trying to divide communities and disrupt peace in state."
There was a heavy police deployment at the spot of the rally under DCP , who included four ACPs, 10 inspectors, 20 sub-inspectors, five woman sub-inspectors, 175 ASI to constables, two companies of State Reserve Police (SRP) and two platoons of woman SRP company. In addition, were riot control vehicles, quick response teams, CCTV cameras and videographers.

Comments

TRENDING

World Bank clarifies: Its 26th rank to India not for universal access to power but for ease of doing business

By Our Representative
In a major embarrassment to the Government of India, the World Bank has reportedly clarified that it has not ranked India 26th out of 130 countries for providing power to its population. The top international banker’s clarification comes following Union Power Minister Piyush Goyal’s claim that India has “improved to 26 position from 99” in access to electricity in just one year.

Mental health: India's 95% patients "deprived" of medical care, treatment gap 70%

By Moin Qazi*
Among the many challenges India faces, the most underappreciated is the ongoing mental health crisis. Mental illness is actually India’s ticking bomb. An estimated 56 million Indians suffer from depression, and 38 million from anxiety disorders. For those who suffer from mental illness, life can seem like a terrible prison from which there is no hope of escape; they are left forlorn and abandoned, stigmatized, shunned and misunderstood.

Modi model? "Refusal" to build Narmada's micro canals, keep Kutch dry; help industry

By Medha Patkar*
This is the latest photograph of the Kutch Branch Canal (KBC) of the Sardar Sarovar, as of April 8! What does it show, expose, and what memories do you recall? Is it dry or dead? Is it a canal or a carcass of the same?

Bill Gates "promoting" GMO, Bt cotton, like cartels that have roots in Hitler's Germany

By Our Representative
World-renowned environmental leader and ecologist Dr Vandana Shiva has expressed concern that Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft Corporation, has joined the bandwagon of “a poison cartel of three" – Monsanto and Bayer, Syngenta and ChemChina, Dow and DuPont – all of whom allegedly have “roots in Hitler’s Germany and finding chemicals to kill people”.

Indian talc products contain "contaminated" asbestos structures, can cause cancer: Study

Counterview Desk
A recent study, using polarizing light microscopy, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), electron diffraction, and X-ray analysis on multiple over-the-counter Indian talc products for the presence of asbestos, has concluded that large quantities of body talc products are likely to pose a public health risk for asbestos-related diseases, especially for the cancers related to asbestos exposure.

Why are you silent on discrimination against Dalit jawans? Macwan questions Modi

By Rajiv Shah
Close on the heels of releasing his book in Gujarati, "Bhed Bharat", which lists 319 cases of atrocities against Dalits and Adivasis across the country over the last five years, well-known Gujarat Dalit rights leader Martin Macwan has shot an open letter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, telling him the reasons why he does not want vote for the BJP.

Jharkhand Adivasi lynched to death by mob "chanting" Jai Shri Ram: Fact-finding team

Counterview Desk
On April 10, 2019, Prakash Lakda, a 50-year old Adivasi of Jurmu village of Gumla’s Dumri block, was lynched to death by a mob of men from the Sahu community of neighbouring Jairagi village. Three other victims from Jurmu – Peter Kerketta, Belarius Minj and Janerius Minj – sustained severe injuries due to the beating by the mob. A fact-finding team of Jharkhand Janadhikar Mahasabha (JJM), comprising of several activists and representatives of member organisations, conducted a fact-finding inquiry into the incident on April 14-15.

Investigation shows Narmada downstream "seriously" polluted. Reason: apathy, greed

By Rohit Prajapati, Krishnakant, Swati Desai*
Our investigation regarding quality of water flowing in the Narmada river downstream of the Sardar Sarovar Dam (SSD), dated April 6, 2019, between 11.00 a.m. to 4.00 p.m. reiterates, what is commonly known now, that the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP) is planned without considering its impact on the downstream Narmada River stretch of 161 kilometres, its ecology, biodiversity and fishery, and lakhs of people living close to and dependent on the river directly or indirectly. This, in turn, has led to its present disastrous state.

Emergence of a rare Dalit teacher in IIT-Kanpur "disturbed" certain faculty members

By PS Krishnan, IAS (Retd)*
Dr Subrahmanyam Sadrela, a faculty member in the Department of Aerospace Engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur since January 1, 2018, and one of the rare Dalit members of the faculty in IIT group of institutions, is facing the threat of revocation of his PhD thesis, and thereby also jeopardizing his job and career.

RTE in remote areas? Govt of India "plans" to close down 2.4 lakh schools

By Srijita Majumder*
The Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009, came into effect on April 1, 2010, for the first time made it obligatory on the part of the State to provide free and compulsory education to all children from 6-14 years of age in India. The Act, despite its limitations, had progressive elements like neighbourhood schools, community participation, ban on corporal punishment, no detention, continuous and comprehensive evaluation and it hence it appeared that India was not far from achieving universal elementary education.