Skip to main content

Gujarat Dalit rally in Una warns state govt: Give us five acres land or face rail roko movement in month's time

From left: Jignesh Mevani, Kanhaiya Kumar at Una rally
By Our Representative
In a strong message to the powers that be, thousands of Dalits gathered for a rally, held in Una town of Saurashtra region, pledged to begin a rail roko (stop the train) movement in case the Gujarat government fails to begin allocating, within a month, five acres of land to each rural Dalit family seeking rehabilitation from the despicable caste practice of manual scavenging and disposing of cattle carcasses.
Attended by thousands of Dalits from across Gujarat in the presence of Rohith Vemula's mother Radhika Vemula and Jawaharlal Nehru University president Kanhiya Kumar, the rally saw Jignesh Mevani, convener of the 10-day march, which began in Ahmedabad on August 5 and converted into a rally in Una on August 15, take the pledge from Dalits to gear up for the new stage of protest.
Attacking the state government for starting to implement from August 15 a land law which removed consent clauses concerning social and environmental impact assessment, Mevani said, it “undermines” land reforms, which are meant to help the marginalized communities.
Huge Muslim presence at the Una rally
Calling for a unity of Dalits, adivasis, Muslims, and people's movements from all over the country, Mevani asked the gathering whether they were ready to go to jail for their land rights, getting a resounding “yes” in reply.
Praising Muslims for helping to make the 10-day march a success, Mevani said it was a “fight for respect and dignity”, adding, those who considered cow their mother “could keep the cow's tail with them and give five acres land to each Dalit family.”
Also taking a pledge never to go down into gutters and never to dispose of carcasses, he said, “We'll fight with peasants and workers against the new land grab law”, raising the slogans “Duniya ke Dalit, duniya ki mahilayen, duniya ke mazdoor ek ho (Dalits, women, workers of the world unite).”
Radhika Vemula, who unfurled the national flag in place of a Valmiki (bhangi) girl as earlier planned, said, “I'm here to fight so that what happens to my son doesn't happen to any other child. Every Dalit child here is like mine. The country belongs to us all, not to a particular caste or religion alone.”
Radhika Vemula at Una
Held to protest the flogging of four Dalit youths in Una by cow vigilantes on July 11 for skinning a dead cow, the victims of the inhuman act were greeted by the gathering. Radhika's son Rohith was forced to commit suicide early this year under pressure from powerful sections wanting the PhD student of the Hyderabad Central University to end his protest.
Kanhaiya Kumar, JNU president, who was controversially put behind the bars on sedition charges for holding a protest for freedom from all forms of exploitation, said, JNU was “replete with instances of bringing about freedom from Brahminism, which is what the Una rally is also proposing to do.”
“There can't be any fight against Brahminism without raising the demand for land rights”, Kumar, who raised freedom slogans high in his short speech, said, adding, “When Dalits demand land, Prime Minister Narendra Modi says 'shoot me'”, even as thanking the gathering, for “exposing” the Gujarat model of development.”
The rally began with Gujarati satire rap by Jay Solanki, followed by the couple Charul and Vinay leading the gathering to sing the national anthem‬. The main slogan on the stage was “Duniya ke Dalit Ek Ho”, or “Dalits of the world unite”. It was held on the grounds of a large state-run school in Una following permissions from authorities.

Comments

ALSO READ

India failing to dictate diplomatic preferences of Nepal, Bhutan, is unfairly blaming Beijing: Chinese daily

By Our Representative
In a sharply-worded editorial, a top Chinese media outfit, described by BBC as state-run, has said, commenting on India's foreign relations with its neighbours, that "speculation and suspicion" is "certainly not diplomacy". Published in "China Daily", the largest circulating English Monday-to-Saturday newspaper with branches across the world, the editorial notes (September 20) that "several recent events" in Nepal and Bhutan, are "gnawing worrywarts in New Delhi".
The editorial -- which comes close on the heels of a sharp critique of India's foreign policy in a state-supported Russian media outfit, Sputnik International, calling India's anti-Pak diplomacy as having "gone awry" following Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "half-baked" push for anti-terror drill down "others' throat" -- says, the " worrywarts" include "Nepalese troops taking part in a joint…

Ahmedabad, GIFT, Adani city get 1.68 lakh acre ft Narmada water; Gujarat's rural areas just 4.27 AF: Letter to CM

Counterview Desk
Well-known farmer rights leader Sagar Rabari, in an open letter to Gujarat chief minister Vijay Rupani, has demanded a transparent account of Narmada water, saying, while he has received a "routine reply" from him to his earlier, the data emerging from his RTI application show huge quantity of water being directed to Ahmedabad, the 10 km stretch of Sabarmati for the Ahmedabad riverfront, and nearby elite urban areas, including the Adanis' Shantigram township and GIFT City.

17 lakh Jharkhand elderly, widows, differently abled do not receive pension: Public hearing told, aadhaar is a hurdle

By Our Representative
Hundreds of elderly, widows, single women and differently-abled persons from different districts of Jharkhand gathered near the Raj Bhavan in Ranchi for a public hearing organized by the Jharkhand Right to Food Campaign and Pension Parishad demanding the right to universal social security pensions ahead of World Elderly Day on October 1.

Ethnocide in Caribbean island filmed following award winning docufilm on Jamaica's anti-colonial Indian roots

International awards winner for Best Feature Documentary Linda Aïnouche for “Dreadlocks Story” (2014), which shows how Indians are entangled in the Jamaican society, and how Hinduism was a source of inspiration for the Rastafari movement, is all set to release her new documentary, “Marooned in the Caribbean”, which aims at documenting the awful desolating living conditions that Raizal people, the native inhabitants of San Andres Archipelago, endure.
Sons of slaves, these islanders have fallen prey to what the Colombian government calls Colombianization. “It’s a process”, according to her, “which kills the Raizal culture; it’s the killing of the Raizal soul. Colombianization subjugates Afro-descendants of San Andres to an ethnocide.”

Explorer, director and producer, Linda Aïnouche writes exclusively for Counterview: ***
Nobody escapes from blood and thunder in Colombia, and definitely not in the archipelago of San Andres, situated closer to Managua and Kingston than Bogota. The Raizal p…

Accused of being RSS plant, Modi man, Hyderabad Urdu varsity chancellor asks President to probe "irregularities"

Counterview Desk
Refused entry in the Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU), the central university's newly appointed chancellor Firoz Bakht Ahmed, who claims to be grand nephew of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, has, in a letter to the President of India, said that MANUU vice-chancellor (V-C) Dr Aslam Parvaiz has accused him of being an RSS plant and a Modi man, whose sole aim is to "interfere in the working of the university".

India to deport Rohingya refugees, as the world moves towards prosecuting Myanmar for genocide

By Tapan Bose*
Seven Rohingya Muslims refugees who were held at a detention centre in Assam since 2012 will be handed over to Myanmar. The Supreme Court of India has refused to stop their deportation. The new Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gagoi said, "We are not inclined to interfere on the decision taken".

An elite Kutir set up by Modi far from the "madding" crowd: This Gandhi museum is formal, unapproachable

By Rajiv Shah
Have you ever heard of a Gandhi museum, sough to be projected as the “largest” on the Mahatma, yet totally inaccessible, in sharp contrast to Ahmedabad’s humble, approachable and unassuming Gandhi Ashram on the banks of Sabarmati, set up by the Mahatma during the heydays of the freedom movement? It exists about 30 kilometres away, its idea was conceived by none other than a person who has today become even more inaccessible than he ever was: Narendra Modi, India's Prime Minister.

Gujarat BJP MLAs, youth leader "incited" attack on North Indians: Cong releases video

Counterview Desk
Senior Gujarat Congress leader Shaktisinh Gohil, currently in charge of Bihar and national spokesperson, All-India Congress Committee, has sent a legal notice to chief minister Vijay Rupani threatening criminal case and civil defamation suit for accusing him with "baseless statement" that he was responsible for attacks on north Indians in Gujarat.

History less known: Kasturba's role as an independent woman and a freedom fighter in her own right

By Nandini Oza*
Even the most deserving of women do not find a place that equals their worth in history. Kasturba is one such woman whose contribution to India’s struggle for freedom has been exemplary, and yet, it has not received the recognition it deserves. Kastur Makhanji Kapadia was born in the year 1869, the same year and in the same town of Porbandar in Gujarat as Gandhiji. In fact she was older than Gandhiji by a few months.

Poor response to tenders for Gujarat's bid for the world's tallest statue, no international firm shows interest

By Our Representative
The Gujarat government’s claim that its decision to build the world’s highest statue in the world, in the memory of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, would attract “tremendous” response top international construction companies, has gone phut. The state government floated international tenders in August to build the statue, which is slated to be 182-metres high. Despite the “international” character of the tenders and big claims, well-informed Sachivalaya sources close to Gujarat chief minister Narendra Modi say, “not one international firm has come up to offer to carry out the construction activity.”