Jignesh Mevani, the face of the Gujarati dalit agitation, was on Friday detained by state police, moments after he arrived at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel international airport in Ahmedabad.
Mevani, who has been spearheading the agitation triggered by the Una flogging incident, was reportedly arrested as a preventive measure as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was expected to arrive at the same airport an hour later to begin his two-day Gujarat tour. The tour coincides with his 66th birthday on Saturday.
“Mevani was coming from Delhi after addressing a public meeting at Jantar Mantar. Fearing that he might create some problem at felicitation event organized for Modi near airport, he was detained,” said Subodh Parmar, his aide and member of Dalit Adhikar Manch.
Hours before, in Delhi, Mevani had announced that a rail-roko agitation would be launched from October 1 in Gujarat, if the government did not comply with their demand for a 5-acre land to be alloted to every dalit family in the state.
Dalits had made this demand at the flag-hoisting ceremony in Una on August 15 at the end of a 10-day march against the alleged atrocities against the group.