Skip to main content

Gujarat's Dalit face Mevani apologizes for abusive language: "Bold" move comes ahead of Una anniversary Azadi Kuch

By Our Representative
In what is being described as a bold and unprecedented move, top Gujarat Dalit rights leader Jignesh Mevani has publicly apologized for using choicest abuses in conservation on phone. The person on the other side, who is said to be living in Kalol, is said to have taped Mevani’s voice and floated the audio recording on a Dalit WhatsApp group and Facebook.
In his apology, which he posted on his Facebook timeline, Mevani – who shot into prominence last year for organizing and leading several Dalit rallies, including in Ahmedabad, following the cow vigilantes’ gruesome attack on four Dalit youths in Una on July 11, 2016 – said, “The audio has hurt many, as one hears the paternalistic, anti-woman abuses. Gujarat’s women are very especially upset. I publicly apologize for this.”
Mevani’s apology comes days his proposed conference in Ahmedabad on July 11, Una anniversary, followed by Freedom March, of Azadi Kuch, from July 12 to 18 July, in North Gujarat “to carry forward the legacy of the Una movement.”
The Freedom March ran into controversy soon after it was announced. Balubhai Sarvaiya, father of the four youths who were attacked a year ago in Una, said that he might not be able to attend Mevani’s rally because of personal reasons. Earlier, he has variously accused Mevani of never visiting his house in village Mota Samadhiyala near Una.
Mevani's public apology on Facebook
In his apology, which he wrote in Hindi, Mevani said, “Whatever the issue, the type of language that I have used is not only highly condemnable but also sub-standard”, adding, “I will make sure that I do not use such type language ever in my life ever.”
“I will also put an end to any paternalistic and anti-woman thought that comes to my mind”, he said. Referring one of the greatest pioneers of Dalit women’s rights, Mevani adds, “It doesn’t particularly augur well for a person like me, who raises ‘Savitribai Phule zindabad’ slogans, on one hand, but on the other uses such abusive language.”
Calling it a “big mistake”, Mevani insists, “My friends alone know why I had to use such abusive language… The person on whom I was using it misbehaved with a girl in my family and was trying character assassination, which made me lose my temper. Whatever the reason, there is no justification for using such tongue.”
Soon after the audio went viral (Counterview was not forwarded the recording), a well-known Dalit women’s rights activist, Leena Patel, was among the first ones to criticize it as reflecting Mevani’s “male chauvinistic mindset”, wondering whether a person who thinks this way would ever fight for women’s liberation.
As it was an audio tape, many thought it was fake, and there was “no proof” that Mevani had uttered the words. Following the apology, which made clear that Mevani had indeed uttered the words, Patel insisted in a Facebook post, “Only a male would use such abusive words. We women are not against a particular person but against paternalistic mindset.”

Comments

TRENDING

132 Gujarat citizens, including IIM-A faculty, others declare solidarity with Kashmiris

Counterview Desk
A week after it was floated, 132 activists, academics, students, artists and other concerned citizens of Gujarat, backed by 118 living in different parts of India and the world, have signed a "solidarity letter" supporting the people of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), who, it claims, have been silenced and held captive in their own land. The signatories include faculty members and scholars of the prestigious Indian Institute of Management-Ahmedabad (IIM-A).

Bharat Ratna nominee ‘joined hands’ with British masters to 'crush' Quit India

By Shamsul Islam*
The Quit India Movement (QIM), also known as ‘August Kranti' (August Revolution), was a nation-wide Civil Disobedience Movement for which a call was given on August 7, 1942 by the Bombay session of the All-India Congress Committee. It was to begin on August 9 as per Gandhi's call to 'Do or Die' in his Quit India speech delivered in Bombay at the Gowalia Tank Maidan on August 8. Since then August 9 is celebrated as August Kranti Divas.

Gujarat's incomplete canals: Narmada dam filled up, yet benefits 'won't reach' farmers

By Our Representative
Even as the Gujarat government is making all out efforts to fill up the Sardar Sarovar dam on Narmada river up to the full reservoir level (FRL), a senior farmer rights leader has said the huge reservoir, as of today, remains a “mirage for the farmers of Gujarat”.
In a statement, Sagar Rabari of the Khedut Ekta Manch (KEM), has said that though the dam’s reservoir is being filled up, the canal network remains complete. Quoting latest government figures, he says, meanwhile, the command area of the dam has been reduced from 18,45,000 hectares (ha) to 17,92,000 ha.
“According to the website of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd, which was last updated on Friday, while the main canal, of 458 km long, has been completed, 144 km of ranch canals out of the proposed length of 2731 km remain incomplete.
Then, as against the targeted 4,569 km distributaries, 4,347 km have been constructed, suggesting work for 222 km is still pending. And of the 15,670 km of minor canal…

Ceramic worker dies: 20,000 workers in Thangadh, Gujarat, 'risk' deadly silicosis

By Our Representative
Even as the country was busy preparing for the Janmashtami festival on Saturday, Hareshbhai, a 46-year-old ceramic worker from suffering from the fatal lung disease silicosis, passed away. He worked in a ceramic unit in Thangadh in Surendranagar district of Gujarat from 2000 to 2016.
Hareshbhai was diagnosed with the disease by the GCS Medical College, Naroda Road, Ahmedabad in 2014. He was found to be suffering from progressive massive fibrosis. He is left behind by his wife Rekha sister and two sons Deepak (18) and Umesh (12),
The death of Hareshbhai, says Jagdish Patel of the health rights group Peoples Training and Research Centre (PTRC), suggests that silicosis, an occupational disease, can be prevented but not cured, and the Factory Act has sufficient provisions to prevent this.
According to Patel, the pottery industry in the industrial town of Thangadh has evolved for a long time and locals as well as migrant workers are employed here. There are abou…

Cess for Gujarat construction workers: Spending less than 10%; no 'direct help' to beneficiaries

By Our Representative
While the Gujarat government’s Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Board, set up in 2004, as of March 31, 2019, has collected a total cess of Rs 2,097.62 crore from the the builders, it has spent less than 10% -- Rs 197.17 crore. And, as on May 31, 2019, the total cess collection has reached Rs 2,583.16 crore, said a statement issued by Bandhkam Majur Sagathan general secretary Vipul Pandya.
Pointing out that just about 6.5 lakh out of 20 lakh workers have been registered under the board, Pandya said, vis-à-vis other states, Gujarat ranks No 13th in the amount spent on the welfare of the construction workers, while 11th in the amount collected.
And while the builders are obliged to pay just about 1% of the total cost of their project, the calculation of the cess is flawed: It is Rs 3,000 per square yard; accordingly, Rs 30 per square yard is collected. “Had the cess been collected on the real construction cost, it would have been at least Rs 7,000 cr…