Dalit leader and convener of Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti (UDALS) Jignesh Mevani, on Sunday, declared formation of a national front — Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM) — for raising the Dalit issues in Gujarat at national-level and merged UDALS into it. With this, he also declared to gherao Dholka prant office in Ahmedabad district on September 17 with a demand of written undertaking by state authorities to resolve land issues of Dalits there by then.
Speaking to The Indian Express, he said, “UDALS has been doing the task of bringing issues of atrocities against Dalits into light and for their resolution. To take the campaign to the national forum, we have announced formation of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch.” “And with that, we are also beginning our struggle related to land reforms from Dholka of (Ahmedabad district),” Mevani added.
According to Mevani, there are number of villages in Dholka region where Dalits have been allocated government wasteland under the provisions of the Agriculture Land Ceiling Act. However, the allocation has remained only on paper and the Dalits have never got physical possession of the land. Also, there are villages in the region where Dalit families have been granted houses under government schemes, but the local upper-castes never allowed them to stay in those houses. And all these issues, Mevani said, had remained unresolved despite protests and representations by Dalits.