Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani Saturday targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Gujarat government for their alleged inability to provide land rights to the Dalit community in the state. Mevani was speaking at a Dalit rally organised to protest “denial” of land rights to Dalits under provisions of the Agriculture Land Ceiling (ALC) Act, in Dholka region of Ahmedabad.
Mevani, who was detained at Ahmedabad International Airport by Ahmedabad City Detection of Crime Branch officials ahead of Modi’s visit on Friday, was released late Friday night. He also hit out at Dholka MLA and state Revenue Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama. At the rally, outside the Taluka Seva Sadan, Mevani spoke about 331 allottees at Saroda village of Dholka, most of whom are Dalits and are yet to get possession of their land under the ALC Act.
Speaking on the death of a Muslim man, Mohammed Ayyub, who was allegedly attacked by suspected gau rakshaks on September 13, Mevani said, “Several gau rakshaks attacked an innocent Muslim, Mohammed Ayyub, and he has passed away at V S Hospital in Ahmedabad. We will take up the issue. I call it Dadri Part 2. The way we have struggled to secure and ensure justice for Una (flogging) victims, we will fight for Ayyub with the same spirit and energy. In no circumstances were Una attackers spared and in the same way, Ayyub’s attackers won’t be spared.”
The Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, a group floated by Mevani and his team, gave a memorandum to taluka authorities demanding immediate resolution of land issues of Dalits in the area.
Mevani said, “On Monday, we will meet Ahmedabad Collector and see if they give written assurance about giving possession of land to Dalits in Dholka region, which has so far remained only on paper. If that does not happen, we will launch a rasta roko andolan from the Income Tax Crossroads in Ahmedabad.”
Harshvardhan Solanki, mamlatdar and executive magistrate of Dholka, said, “We have already told them that a committee has been set up last week by the Collector to look into the issue… As soon as the committee takes a decision, they will be given possession, which is likely to happen in a month.”