Dalits to hold 'rail roko' in Gujarat

Lucknow :  Face of Dalit agitation in Gujarat, Jignesh Mevani, who shot into prominence after the flogging of Dalits for skinning a cow in Una, has announced to lead a 'rail roko' campaign against the anti-Dalit atrocities in Gujarat soon. "We want justice and refuse to be treated as animals. You keep your cows, just give us our land. You handle the dead animals and we will do farming,'' he said here after touring Azamgarh, Ghazipur and Varanasi districts of eastern UP. Mevani told mediapersons here last night that 20,000 Dalits have stopped handling dead animals after the Una episode and more people were standing up. "In 2012, three Dalits were shot dead and a similar agitation took place but after the Una incident, it has spread far.'' He said that he aimed to bring all like-minded parties and organisations on a common platform to protest against the Gujarat model of development and expose its reality. The Vibrant Gujarat hype only infused high aspirations, whereas the reality was different. "This generated frustration among people, especially Dalits, and this,coupled with the Una incident, triggered anger across the nation," said Mevani, who is the convenor of the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladai Samiti. Mevani said that while Dalits in Gujarat live on the fringes of villages, Muslims reside in ghettos. "We believe in struggle and would remain apolitical and our struggle is against the feudal mindset," said Mevani, who quit the Aam Admi Party recently. "I appeal to Dalits in UP to stop handling carcasses and join my campaign.'' Mevani, who was accompanied by activist Teesta Setalvad, said that his Dalit awareness campaign was drawing huge responses in US, Germany, the UK. He said that if police protection is withdrawn, Dalits in Gujarat would be lynched by feudal forces supported by the BJP. Sanitation workers were not getting even half of minimum wages in Gujarat. Farmers were not getting minimum support price, while agricultural land was being gifted to corporates. Mevani and Radhika Vemula, mother of Rohith Vemula, would share a common platform at the precincts of Ambedkar Mahasabha to mark the Diversity Day, here in the state capital on August 27.

Tags:    'rail roko' 
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