Skip to main content

Mevani threatens Muslim bodies with boycott, says they must first solve Gujarat riot victims' housing issues

By Our Representative
In a little known development, Gujarat's Dalit face Jignesh Mevani has threatened Muslim organizations, which have claimed to have "resettled" thousands of 2002 riot victims, that he would boycott meetings called by them anywhere in India. Mevani's threat comes close on the heels of complaints by tens of riot victims that they are sought to be evicted by the very same organizations that had allowed them to settle down on their land in the aftermath of the riots.
Elected as MLA from Vadgam constituency in North Gujarat during the recent assembly elections, Mevani's threat acquires significance as he has been championing the cause of Dalit-Muslim unity, the two communities which, he believes, are suffering the most under the Narendra Modi government in India and the BJP rule in Gujarat. Mevani's victory in Vadgam, with Congress support, owes mainly to Muslim and Dalit support.
At a meeting called by minority rights body, Alpasankhyak Adhikar Manch (AAM), at Gujarat Vidyapeeth, the riot victims made a strong plea against the Muslim organizations which had "resettled" them on land they had acquired. The organizations identified by AAM in a note are Jamiat-e-ulema-e-Hind, Gujarat Sarvajanik Relief Committee, Islamic Relief Committee, United Economic Forum and several "small local trusts and individuals."
Even as Mevani and other civil society leaders were listening to the victims flabbergasted, they were told how they were not allowed to celebrate festivals, even sing songs, and were often told that they were themselves responsible for their state of affairs following the riots. In fact they were not true Muslims, as they would participate in "non-Muslim" festivals like Navratri. They believed, it was a conspiracy to displace them again, as land prices on which they were resettled had zoomed.
Following the testimonies by the riot victims, Mevani said, one should, no doubt, appreciate the Muslim organizations which had given riot victims temporary shelter. But they must now come forward to work for providing them housing rights. "Now and on these organizations call me as speaker at their meetings in Delhi and across the country. Till they help resolve riot victims' problems, I will not attend their meetings, let it be clear. I will tell this to them in clear-cut terms", he said.
Suggesting that he would negotiate on behalf of the riot victims living in resettlement colonies, with the active support of their representatives, Mevani, however, insisted, the primary responsibility for their state of affairs lies with the state government. He said, "It is the greatness of Gujarat model that all that the deprived sections in Gujarat have received in the name of justice in the recent past is a big zero, despite media reports, Teesta Setalvad's court battles, and NGO interventions."
Reacting to the riot victims' complaint that, despite several requests between 2015 and 2017, the Gujarat chief minister has not cared to meet them to listen to their problems, Mevani said, "It is such a third class and thick skinned government that unless one aggressively protests, it refuses to do anything."
Asking riot victims to give him 10 representatives each from the 83 colonies for protest, Mevani declared, "I will see how chief minister Vijay Rupani enters the Gujarat state assembly without giving an appointment. We will not allow him to enter the House. Remember, now you have one among you as elected representative standing by you in thick and thin."
Also giving aq call to gherao the state assembly with the help of 1,500 riot victims, Mevani said, "Rupani has to give us concrete assurance that the the victims' problems are solved. Unless he does it, we will not allow him to garland Babasaheb Ambedkar's statue on his birthday, April 14." He added, "Unless you hit the streets, your problems will not be solved for the next 70 years, just as these have not been solve for the last 70 years."

Comments

K SHESHU BABU said…
Solidarity with Mevani. He has taken right step to expose hypocrisy of Muslim conservative elements. Many dalits and muslim families are yet to be rehabilitated by the government

TRENDING

Hindus to be 'sent' to Kashmir? Despite Israeli settlements, peace eludes the region

By Anand K Sahay*
Curfew, news and communications blackout, transportation shut-down... News reports from Kashmir are worrying. So are the views relayed through the media, especially television. Old-fashioned repression seems to be consorting comfortably with expressions of concern “for our Kashmiri brethren”. We are looking at Orwell’s 1984 in the making.

Impact of state repression? Kashmir's 65% people prefer independence: Cambridge study

By Rajiv Shah 
Even as the Government of India’s controversial move to abrogate Article 370 of the Constitution and bifurcate Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) into two union territories is not only refusing to down die but has acquired international dimensions, a recent study, published by the Cambridge University Press, has claimed “pro-independence attitudes” among that 65% of Kashmiris, warning, this sentiment worsens when the state machinery resorts “repressive violence”.

Dholera 'inundated': Gujarat govt tries selling low lying area as top smart city site

Counterview Desk
Even as the Dholera Special Investment Region Regional Development Authority (DSIRDA) of the Gujarat government was busy organising a junket for Gujarat-based journalists for the area sought to be sold as an ideal special investment region (SIR) for industrialists, well-known farmers' activist Sagar Rabari has wondered why no investor has so far agreed to put in money in an area situated in Ahmedabad district along the Gulf of Khambhat.

Congress' anti-democratic laws led to Modi govt's 'Constitutional' changes: Scholars

Counterview Desk
A large number of academics* said to be belonging to several Indian and international institutions, even as taking strong exception to the Narendra Modi government's alleged move to amend the Constitution through "illegitimate" means, have taken strong exception to their colleagues in academia who we have become "all too accustomed to adopting a calculated silence in the face of such indignities."

Kashmir normal? Schoolboys, teenagers being arbitrarily picked up, detained: Report

Counterview Desk
A four-person team, consisting of Jean Dr├Ęze, well-known development economist; Kavita Krishnan, who is with the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist); Maimoona Mollah of the All India Democratic Women's Association (AIDWA); and Vimal Bhai of the National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), back from a five-day fact-finding mission (August 9-13) from Kashmir, has said that people they spoke to “expressed their pain, anger, and sense of betrayal against the Government of India.”
In a report, “Kashmir Caged”, released along with a short eight-minute film, they said, the abrogation of Articles 370 and 35A, dissolution of the state of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), and bifurcating it into two Union Territories, is not being supported by anyone they met, except for BJP spokesperson on Kashmir affairs Ashwani Kumar Chrungoo, who claimed 46% vote share in J&K.
Excerpts from the report: When our flight landed, and the airlines staff announced that passeng…

Modi's Gujarati mind? Why govt move to 'sell-off' defence PSUs isn't in national interest

By Sandeep Pandey*
The Standing Committee on Defence, 2017-18, of the 16th Lok Sabha highlights the idea of Buy Indian-IDDM (Indigenously Designed Developed and Manufactured). The Committee expressed concern over the import content of equipments produced and developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), Ordnance Factories (OFs) and defence Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) because of the dependence it creates for military hardware on foreign suppliers.

Central Gujarat effluent channel 'releasing' highly polluted industrial wastewater: PM told

Counterview Desk
Senior environmentalists of the Paryavaran Suraksha Samiti (PSS), Vadodara, Rohit Prajapati and Krishnakant, in an open letter to the Prime Minister, the Gujarat chief minister, the Gujarat chief secretary, and senior Government of India and Gujarat government officials dealing with environment, pollution and climate change have said that the authorities’ response their pleas to take action against the leakages and flow of polluted wastewater from the effluent channels of Central Gujarat industrial areas has met with complete inertia.

Can't go to court with RTI information, rule Ahmedabad authorities: Kankaria accident

By Pankti Jog*
In a shocking reply to an application filed by me, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) authorities have said that the information provided under the Right to Information (RT) Act should be used in court or in a judicial process. The Act is known to be a major tool that enables citizens to seek certified copies of documents, records from any public authority of state and Central government within 30 days, as per provisions of the Act.

Quit India Movement 'betrayal' and dubious role of Hindu Mahasabha, RSS leaders

By Shamsul Islam*
After the recent guillotine of Article 370, Hindutva ideologue Ram Madhav, while celebrating the occasion stated that it was honouring of the sacrifices of Dr Shyam Prasad Mukherjee and thousands others who laid down their lives for its removal. It is to be noted that Dr Mukherjee was a cadre of RSS and was groomed into a Hindutva leader by another Hindutva icon, VD Savarkar.

Strategy for united struggle against Hindutva 'fascism': Ideological silence is 'no option'

By Dr Bhabani Shankar Nayak*
Electoral alliance and opportunism of national and regional political parties, neoliberal economic marginalisation and soft secular Hindutva line pandering to Hindu majoritarianism laid the foundation of Hindutva fascism in post-colonial India.