Jignesh Mevani says being targeted, asks PM to speak up on violence against Dalits
A day after he was denied permission to hold a rally in Mumbai, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani clarified in New Delhi that his speech at an event in Pune on January 1 was not ‘provocative’.Updated: Jan 05, 2018 22:11 IST
Accusing the BJP-led NDA government of targeting Dalits and other minorities, Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Friday said Prime Minister Narendra Modi must articulate his stand on the violence against Dalits in Maharashtra’s Koregaon.
Violence erupted during the celebration of the bicentenary of the Bhima Koregaon battle in Pune district of Maharashtra earlier this week.
The Dalit leader, who was recently elected to the Gujarat assembly, said on one hand, Modi paid tributes to Dalit icon BR Ambedkar and talked about his legacy, while on the other, atrocities against the so-called lower castes were being perpetrated.
“I will take out a rally in the Capital on January 9, along with RTI activist Akhil Gogoi (who was recently booked under the National Security Act), and later meet the PM with a copy of the Constitution in one hand and the Manu Smriti (ancient code of conduct) in the other and ask him to choose between the two,” he said.
Mevani, against whom a case has been filed for allegedly making a provocative speech in Maharashtra’s Koregaon, denied having said anything to incite violence. He said the case filed against him was political vendetta by the BJP government, which was “rattled by its performance” in Gujarat where it managed to win 99 seats instead of the projected 150.
“I am a lawyer and now an MLA, I have not said a single word in my speech that was inflammatory, I am just being targeted,” Mevani told the media.
The Dalit leader, who hit headlines after steering the campaign against the attack on Dalits in Gujarat’s Una, said the BJP perceived him as a political threat and was trying tarnishing his image ahead of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls.
“Members of Sangh Parivar and BJP made a childish attempt to tarnish my image and target me; it is an after effect of the Gujarat results and it is also because they have a sense of fear about 2019,” he said.
He added, “If a Dalit MP can be targeted, then what will be the fate of an ordinary person who speaks for the farmers and the poor?”