The Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM) called off Saturday’s ‘rail roko’ protest after the Gujarat government called them for talks.
Dalit groups in the state began protesting after four men from the community were flogged publicly in Una on suspicion of cow slaughter.
The protesters demanded that five acres of land be given to every Dalit family in the state under the poverty line.
“Rail roko programme has been called off. The government approached us on the eve of the stir,” said Subodh Parmar, convener of RDAM.
“Minister of state for home Pradeepsinh Jadeja has approached Jignesh Mevani (who has been leading the agitation). Talks are likely to be held on October 5,” added Parmar.
This is the first time the state has approached the agitating Dalit groups for a discussion.
Led by Mevani, Dalits announced they would stop trains in Maninagar, an assembly constituency in Ahmedabad earlier represented by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Among others, Delhi’s Jawaharlal Nehru University Students Union president, Kanhaiya Kumar, was expected to participate in the ‘rail roko’.
After self-proclaimed cow vigilantes attacked the four Dalits in Una in July, a series of protests began, snowballing into statewide unrest. In August, Dalit groups came together for a 10-day march from Ahmedabad to Una.