Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Wednesday said he, along with other like-minded people, was planning to launch a nationwide alliance for the upliftment of Dalits. Speaking to reporters after visiting Manda Krishna Madiga, a Dalit leader who is currently lodged in a prison in Hyderabad, Mevani also demanded that every Dalit be given five acres of land.
Madiga, founder of the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi, was arrested recently during a protest for Scheduled Caste categorisation. Mevani said, “In the coming days, I, along with Krishna Madiga and other Dalit, progressive, like-minded groups, want to launch a broad alliance for the upliftment of Dalits.”
Calling land a major issue, Mevani said that 70 out of 100 Dalits are landless and said that every Dalit should be given five acres of land. The newly-elected Gujarat MLA termed the death of University of Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula as “an institutional murder” and said that Vemula, had he been alive, would have joined him to meet Madiga. Vemula had committed suicide in a hostel room on the varsity campus on January 16, 2016.
Mevani appealed to the Telangana government to release Madiga and termed his arrest as the curtailing of a person’s fundamental rights. “I appeal to the state government ( Telangana) and police to release him immediately. He is struggling for the fundamental rights of his community. Individual liberty should not be curtailed this way,” he said.