Skip to main content

Gujarat cops "detain" Jignesh Mevani, Kanhaiya Kumar, Reshma Patel in Mehsana, "stop" Una anniversary Azadi Kooch

Kanhaiya Kumar, Jignesh Mevani, Reshma Patel
By Our Representative
Tens of activists, including top Gujarat Dalit rights leader Jignesh Mevani, Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Reshma Patel, were detained on Wednesday for holding Azadi Kooch or Freedom March from North Gujarat town Mehsana, about 60 kilometres from Ahmedabad.
Azadi Kooch was part of Mevani’s Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar March’s state-wide protests to mark anniversary of the gruesome Una Dalit flogging incident, which shook India last year. Permission for taking out the Azadi March, granted on June 27, was revoked by the Gujarat police on July 8, citing possible law and order problems.
According to Mevani, the permission was cancelled “at the behest of deputy chief minister Nitin Patel.” Patel belongs to Mehsana, and is said to have been feeling jittery over political influence slipping out his hand, with Patels joining Dalits in the protest rally.
Detained Azadi Kooch leaders
The Azadi Kooch began at Somnath Chowk in the afternoon in Mehsana with Dalit and Patel leaders coming together to protest against the Gujarat government.
Those who joined the Azadi Kooch meeting at Somnath Chowk included prominent participants of the week-long Kisan Mukti Yatra, a farmers’ march being taking out across India. It began its Gujarat leg on Tuesday at Vyara in South Gujarat.
Those present included Swarajya Abhiyan’s Yogendra Yadav, CPI-M leader Hannan Mollah, Maharashtra farmers’ leader Raju Shetty, senior Mines and Minerals and People activist Ashok Shrimali, Adivasi Ekta Parishad’s Ashok Chowdhury, Khedut Samaj-Gujarat (KSG) leader Sagar Rabari, and Gujarat Lokhit Samiti’s Nita Mahadev.
Addressing people who had gathered at Somnath Chowk, Yadav said, this was a “great moment” for him, as farmers and Dalits have stood together in their struggle. Soon after the Kisan Mukti Yatra left Mehsana towards Rajasthan to continue with its march, the cops swooped on leaders of the Azadi Kooch.
Kisan Mukti Yatra leaders in Mehsana
“Somnath Chowk is significant, as it is the same spot which saw some of the worst anti-Dalit riots in 1981 and 1985, triggering a Patel-Dalit divide. This was for the first time after so many years that the two communities came on one platform”, Shirmali, who belongs to Gujarat, told Counterview.
Meanwhile, Mevani has claimed, his and his leaders' detention took place immediately after a Sangh Parivar cadre tried to attack him by “seeking to drive his motorbike” through his leg.
Soon after the incident, Mevani appealed to activists across India, though a social media message, to “phone up Gujarat director-general of police Geetha Johri (9978406287), asking her to provide solid police protection and grant permission for Azadi Kooch.”
The Azadi Kooch was proposed to continue for a week, and end at Dhanera, a small town in Banaskantha district, on July 18. A Mevani aide said, they were expecting the Gujarat government to arrest them.
Unza Dalits listen to Azadi Kooch leaders
The police claimed it detained 17 persons, an FIR was registered under IPC section 143 against them for being a part of an illegal assembly, and after some time were let go afterwards.
Late at night, the Azadi Kooch leaders addressed a largely Dalit gathering at Unza town, known for being biggest and richest agricultural marketing yard for cash crops in North Gujarat.

Comments

TRENDING

India under Modi among top 10 autocratizing nations, on verge of 'losing' democracy status

By Rajiv Shah
A new report, prepared by a top Swedish institute studying liberal democracy, has observed that there has been a sharp “dive in press freedom along with increasing repression of civil society in India associated with the current Hindu-nationalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.” The report places India among the top 10 countries that “have autocratized the most”. Other countries that have been identified for rolling towards autocracy are -- Hungary, Turkey, Poland, Serbia, Brazil, Mali, Thailand, Nicaragua and Zambia.

Savarkar 'criminally betrayed' Netaji and his INA by siding with the British rulers

By Shamsul Islam*
RSS-BJP rulers of India have been trying to show off as great fans of Netaji. But Indians must know what role ideological parents of today's RSS/BJP played against Netaji and Indian National Army (INA). The Hindu Mahasabha and RSS which always had prominent lawyers on their rolls made no attempt to defend the INA accused at Red Fort trials.

Gujarat link of controversial US doctor who 'forced' WHO quiz Trump's wonder drug

By Rajiv Shah
A top American doctor, Sapan Sharankishor Desai, born and raised in the “affluent” North Shore (Chicago) region of Illinois by Indian parents, at one point of time involved in NGO activity through  dedicated to “improving” the lives of the impoverished in Gujarat, is in the eyes of a major international storm following his paper (retracted) in a “Lancet” questioning Donald Trump-promoted drug hydroxychloroquine.

Border conflict? RBI nod India's 'brotherly' help to China internationalise its currency

By Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
In the middle of a global pandemic, China started an unprovoked border conflict with India. It unraveled trust deficit and ties between the two neighbours. As thousands of Chinese troops tried occupying Indian territory, the Narendra Modi-led BJP government directs the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to allow the Bank of China to start regular banking services in India. The Bank of China will now operate in India like any other commercial banks.

RSS supremo Deoras 'supported' Emergency, but Indira, Sanjay Gandhi 'didn't respond'

By Shamsul Islam*
National Emergency was imposed on the country by then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on June 25-26, 1975, and it lasted for 19 months. This period is considered as ''dark times' for Indian democratic polity. Indira Gandhi claimed that due to Jaiprakash Narayan's call to the armed forces to disobey the 'illegal' orders of Congress rulers had created a situation of anarchy and there was danger to the existence of Indian Republic so there was no alternative but to impose Emergency under article 352 of the Constitution.

Clean chit to British rulers, Muslim League? Karnataka to have Veer Savarkar flyovers

By Shamsul Islam*
The BJP government of Karnataka led by BS Yediyurappa is going to honour Hindutva icon VD Savarkar by naming two of the newly built major flyovers in Bangalore and Mangalore after him. There was a huge uproar against this decision of the RSS-BJP government as many pro-Kannada organisations with opposition parties and liberal-secular organizations questioned the logic to ignore so many freedom fighters, social reformers and others from within the state.

Hurried nod to Western Ghat projects: 16 lakh Goans' water security 'jeopardised'

Counterview Desk
Taking strong exception to "virtual clearances" to eco-sensitive projects in the Western Ghats, the National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) in a statement has said urged for a review of the four-lane highway, 400 KV transmission line and double tracking of the railway line through the Bhagwan Mahavir Wildlife Sanctuary and Mollem National Park in Goa.

Disturbing signal? Reliance 'shifting focus' away from Indian petrochemical sector

By NS Venkataraman*
Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), a large Indian company, has expanded and grown in a spectacular manner during the last few decades, like of which no industrial group in India has performed before. RIL is now involved in multi various activities relating to petroleum refineries, petrochemicals, oil and gas exploration, coal bed methane, life sciences, retail business, communication network, (Jio platform) media/entertainment etc.

Case for nationalising India's healthcare system amidst 'strong' private control

Counterview Desk
A draft discussion note, prepared by Dr Maya Valecha, a Gujarat-based gynecologist and activist, sent to the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) as also a large number of activists, academics and professionals as an email alert, is all set to create a flutter among policy experts for its strong insistence on nationalizing India’s healthcare system.