A year after Una, Mevani to lead a Dalit march for freedom
Hardnews Bureau Delhi
Almost a year after four Dalits were beaten up by a mob of Gau rakshaks (cow protectors) in Una district of Gujarat, Dalit icon Jignesh Mevani has announced that he will lead a freedom march under the aegis of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch in July to protest against terror spread in the name of Hindutva and capitalism.
In a statement released on June 23, Mevani said that the protest march will bring Dalits, Muslims, labourers and farmers under the same umbrella. While listing the various incidents of intolerance reported throughout the country over the last year, the Dalit leader said that the community will not do the menial jobs of collecting garbage, cleaning toilets and scavenging anymore and will demand plots of land for themselves.
The protest march will begin from Mehsana district in north Gujarat and will culminate at Bansakantha district where Mevani alleged that thousands of acres of land have been allotted to landless Dalit labourers only on paper. The statement added these plots are controlled by people from upper caste communities and accused the government of not doing enough to ensure that the land is transferred to the original beneficiaries.
In view of the incidents that took place in Saharanpur, Latehaar and Alwar, the protesters will urge the government to pass a law that will prohibit incidents of mob lynching. “We want the rule of law and the freedom to live our lives the way we wish to,” said Mevani.
Apart from focussing on the incidents of violence in the name Gau Rakha (cow protection), the protesters will also raise the issues of inflation, farmer suicides and exploitation of labourers and unemployment.