Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani Thursday withdrew his call for mass pulling of chains in trains across the country as part of the ongoing agitation over Dalit issues. He, instead, asked people to gather at Maninagar Railway Crossing in Ahmedabad on October 1 when one-day rail roko would be held to push for the demands raised by the Dalit community in Gujarat.
“On behalf of Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, I had given a call for rail roko in Maninagar of Ahmedabad and asked people, who could not join us, to indulge in mass chain pulling of trains across the country,” he told reporters. “However, we apprehend that some people might take advantage of this protest to indulge in violence and attribute the discredit to us. So, I am withdrawing the call of mass pulling of chains in trains and requesting people to join us at Maninagar Railway Crossing that falls under the former assembly constituency of Narendra Modi when he was chief minister of Gujarat.”
Following the assault on seven Dalits in Una by “gau rakshaks” for skinning a dead cow, Mevani and his groups have been protesting against the Gujarat government with a charter of demands. The demands include giving five acre of land to each landless Dalit, enactment of the Reservation Act, utilisation of SC and ST sub-plan money only for the people of SC and ST communities and prohibition on private cow protection committees.
On Thursday, Mevani said that they might rethink on their call of rail roko, if the state government gives a “concrete assurance” of indulging in dialogue with them for resolution of Dalits’ “legitimate demands”.
“Though, so far, the government has not given any indication in that regard. They indulged in talks with the Patidars who were raising unconstitutional demands, and even gave them quota (EWS quota). The government is not ready for a dialogue with the Dalits who are demanding fulfilment of their constitutional rights,” he added.