Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani, who represents the Scheduled Caste reserved constituency Vadgam, Tuesday wrote to Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, objecting to being excluded from the Gujarat government’s high power committee on prevention of atrocities on Dalits and tribal people in the state. He attributed his omission from the panel to alleged prejudice against him. The committee is scheduled to meet on Wednesday.
Under provisions of the Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, each state government constitutes a high power State-level vigilance and monitoring committee for effective implementation of the Act. The Committee, headed by the chief minister, can have a maximum of 25 members, including the leader of the opposition, the state’s chief secretary, director general of police, the minister for social justice & empowerment and MPs and MLAs representing the SC and ST communities.
In his letter to the chief minister, Mevani wrote, “To the best of my information, this meeting (of State Level Vigilance and Monitoring Committee) is scheduled tomorrow, ie June 19, 2019. However, to ensure that I do not raise the issues of the SC and ST communities, I have not been included in the committee, with a prejudice against me.” He submitted a list of demands on prevention of atrocities against Dalits and tribals in Gujarat, and asked the state government to discuss it at the meeting and do the needful.
A top government officer associated with the committee said that Mevani’s allegations are unjustified. “We have so many MLAs from the SC and ST communities. All of them cannot be included in a committee. So, different MLAs are included in different committees,” the officer said. Out of the 182 constituencies represented in the assembly, 13 are reserved for SCs and 27 for STs.