Home > Ours is inclusive movement of all oppressed sections of society: Dalit youth icon Jignesh Mevani

Ours is inclusive movement of all oppressed sections of society: Dalit youth icon Jignesh Mevani

22 Aug 2016 08:08 PM, IST

Ours is inclusive movement of all oppressed sections of society: Dalit youth icon Jignesh Mevani
During Una Dalit Asmita Yatra, Jignesh Mevani holding hand with a Muslim in Savarkundla where Muslims from Palanpur had joined the Yatra. (Photo from facebook of Pratik Sinha )

Ghazanfar Abbas, IndiaTomorrow.net,

New Delhi, August 22: The Dalit uprising, erupted in Gujarat in mid-July in the wake of the Una incident where four Dalit men were publically flogged by a group of cow vigilantes for allegedly skinning dead, has begun expanding itself following the massive Una rally of Independence Day. Dalit youth icon Jignesh Mevani has launched a new series of public interactions under the banner of his Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti.


Speaking at the inaugural at Gandhi Peace Foundation in the National Capital on Sunday, Mevani, who was the face behind the current Gujarat Dalit movement, termed "historic and remarkable" the recent "Dalit Asmita Yatra" that travelled through numerous towns and villages in Gujarat and culminated into the huge protest demonstration in Una town on Independence Day.


"Because of long history of social injustice with Dalits in Gujarat, the recent movement is remarkable and historic. It is first time that more than 20,000 Dalits have rejected humiliating and forced caste-based occupation and taken oaths not to do the job of skinning of dead animals and manual scavenging anymore," said Mevani. "This massive rally and unity of people was a tight slap on the face of BJP and Sangh parivar," he added.


Along with rejecting the caste-based work like manual scavenging, the Dalit movement has put 10 demands before the government that include employment, educational reform and land reform.

"At the Una rally, we raised the slogan Gai nu poonch tum rakho; ame amra zameen apo! Harka, chamra tame rakho; hume hamari zameen apo! (You keep your cow's tail, skin and bones; give us our land!) 


He warned of aggressive agitation if the demands about land were not entertained by 15th Sep.


Dalit movement leader Jignesh Mevani speaking at Gandhi Peace Foundation in New Delhi on 21 Aug 2016.


Mevani, convener of Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti, said, "More than 1,20,000 applications from Tribal people seeking land are still pending. We demand the government to approve all those applications according to the Forest Rights Act (FRA). Besides, the government should allocate 5 acre of land to each Dalit family - that should be in the name of a female member of the family. If the process of land allocation does not start by 15th Sep 2016, we will start ‘Rail Roko Andolan' (Stop Rail Movement) from the same day."


During the public interaction on Sunday, Mevani emphasized that the current Dalit movement was not only for Dalits; it, he said, is for all the oppressed sections of the society.


"This movement is not associated just with Dalits, all the movements of oppressed classes including farmers, labors, and tribal groups are at the core of this movement. This is an inclusive movement," said Mevani.


"By the slogan ‘Gai ki Poonch tum rakho hume humari zameen do' we are actually talking about social justice with economic development.  This is not just to discard political communalism but this can bring political reform too. This movement is for the basic amenities such as roti, kapda aur makaan (bread, cloth and home) with social justice and we will spread this in the whole country," said Mevani who had a busy scheduled in Delhi on Sunday. He also interacted with youths at JNU before leaving for Lucknow where also he was scheduled to address some meetings on Monday.

Keywords : Jignesh Mevani ,   Dalit movement ,   Gujarat Dalits ,   Una Dalits  

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