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Expectations run high from new Gujarat Dalit leader: Mevani accused of "failing" to stand by atrocity victims

Valjibhai Rathod (extreme right) on dharna in Gandhinagar
By Our Representative
Following successful completion of the Independence Day Dalit protest rally in Una, sharp questions are beginning to the raised about whether the Dalit rebellion, which began in protest against the despicable act of flogging four Dalit youths in the town on July 11, would at all sustain.
While expectations have started to run extremely high from the new Dalit leadership, especially Jignesh Mevani, following the huge success in the Una rally, not only are Dalit rights activists across Gujarat, but victims of families suffering from atrocities, too, have begun criticizing Mevani and others from "failing" to stand by them in time of need.
The latest in the series of sharp criticisms of Mevani has come from the families of Thangarh firing victims, sitting on a dharna for the last one fortnight in Gandhinagar, the state capital. Talking with newspersons, Valjibhai Rathod, father of one of the three persons shot dead on September 22-23 in Thangarh, said, “Mevani has not cared to come to the spot where we sit on dharna in Gandhinagar.”
As Rathod said this on Friday afternoon in the Ahmedabad office of Navsarjan Trust, a Dalit rights NGO, Mevani, attached with the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), is was in the Jawarharlal Nehru University to address students in order to “expose” the Gujarat model of development, which led to atrocities on Dalits.
Rathod was talking with newspersons on the proposed rally of August 21 in Gandhinagar in protest against the “refusal” of the Gujarat government to bring to books the culprits responsible for police firing. The rally is being organized by the auspices of the Gujarat Anusuchit Jati (scheduled castes) Atyachar Sangharsh Samiti, Gandhinagar.
Major demands, for which the rally is being held, include instituting a CBI inquiry into the incident, releasing the report prepared by IAS official Sanjay Prasad, who had inquired into the incident in 2013, and reopening of the police firing case, which has been “shelved” by filing a closing report.
Earlier, Mevani and his colleagues has come the Sarvaiya family, tho which the four Dalit youths who were flogged belong. Coming from Mota Samadhiyala village, the Sarvaiya family has reportedly taken strong exception to Mevani and others not meeting them before leaving Una for good on August 15.
"Mevani and his colleagues never met Balubhai Sarvaiya and their four sons before returning to Ahmedabad", one of the family members has been quoted as saying. “After the Una rally on I-day, all of us moved to go to our village, Mota Samadhiyala. However, we were forced to return to Una following attack from non-Dalits. We were sitting in the Una police station to demand protection to go home.”
The family member, Vashrambhai Savraiya, added, “Mevani came to the police station, but went away without meeting us. Nor did he visit our residence.” According to eye-witnesses, Mevani and colleagues reached the police station soon after the rally, which ended at 12.30 pm. However, they left Una at 2.00 pm when the attacks on Dalits were still on.
This was followed by a senior activist, especially Leena Patel, who was in Una, frantically taking exception to the way Una rally leaders “disappeared” ignoring the Sarvaiya family, which got police protection to return home at around 8 pm following intervention by Mumbai film maker Anand Parwardhan, CPI-M activists and their Gujarat supporters.

Comments

Unknown said…
Well, Jignesh had already quit Aam Aadmi Party when this insinuation was being attached to him. That he did not talk them etc as a planted Divya Bhaskar story with just one quote, which too is not direct. Jignesh has taken up an entire moment and is doing it for them, and Sarvaiya is suddenly sulking; just because Jignesh didn't say hello?? It is despicable that efforts are being made to run down a strong moment, just when it is acquiring a national spirit. More shocking is that some of them are the very NGOs, who have themselves been working for the Dalits for years. At a time when everyone concerned about Dalits should be backing Mewani and his team, there are people behaving in a lowly manner. But let me tell you such efforts won't succeed. Jignesh is alone in this fight.
Sundar Pal said…
Jignesh Mevani is alone? Tells poorly on his ability to lead.

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