To observe the first anniversary of public flogging of a Dalit family by “gau rakshaks” in Una of Gir Somnath district, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani Friday announced a seven-day march — Azadi Kooch — from Mehsana on July 12 under the banner of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM). The march is scheduled to culminate on July 18 at Dhanera in Banaskantha district.
“The march is to remember one year of Una. We propose to end the march in Dhanera city by fighting for a plot of land that has been denied to the Dalits,” Mevani, convener of RDAM, told reporters here at a press meet.
After the public flogging of a Dalit family in Una on July 11 last year, Mevani had led a 10-day march which started from Ahmedabad and ended at Una on August 15.
About key demands and the recent show of solidarity between RDAM and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Mevani said, “The Dalit dimension is intact in the march. But, the issues we are looking into are common for all the marginalised communities. Our march is to demand land, access to education, employment and health facilities.”
“If our demands are not met then we will make sure that the Dalits vote for any other party, but BJP. They think that by keeping a Dalit candidate for the presidential position they are going to win over the community,” he said.
Members of RDAM said that if they did not get police permission for the march, they will resort to other methods of protest.
The march will pass through Unjha, Sidhpur, Palanpur and Deesa before culminating at Dhanera. Before launching the march from Mehsana, RDAM has planned a meeting in Ahmedabad on July 11.