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Jignesh Mewani exhorts UP Dalits  to protest against murder of student in Allahabad

Jignesh Mewan urged Dalits to work towards achieving complete economic independence and “celebrate Valentine’s Day without fear”.

lucknow Updated: Feb 12, 2018 21:18 IST
S Raju
S Raju
Meerut, Hindustan Times
Jignesh Mewani,Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani,Dalit
Jignesh Mewani at a rally in Gujarat. (Siddharaj Solanki/HT FILE Photo)

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani on Monday exhorted Dalits in Uttar Pradesh to raise their voice against the alleged atrocities of the Yogi Adityanath government and the murder of a lower-caste student in Allahabad.

Dilip Saroj (26), who was assaulted by a group of men with hockey sticks and bricks on Friday night, died at the Swarooprani Nehru Hospital two days later. Mewani condemned the incident, alleging that the “law and constitution have been torn to shreds” in Uttar Pradesh.

The Dalit leader also urged members of the community in the northern state to prevent chief minister Yogi Adityanath from paying tribute to the statue of Dr Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar at the social reformer’s birth anniversary if Bheem Army chief Chandrasekhar was not released by April 1.

Chandrasekhar, who was arrested 10 months ago on charges of inciting violence, is lodged at Saharanpur Jail. The district administration had charged him under the National Security Act in November, extending his remand by another three months despite being granted bail by the Allahabad high court in 27 related cases.

Mewani was speaking at a rally organised by the Democratic Students Front to push for Chandrasekhar’s release in Meerut. “In Gujarat, we have set an April 1 deadline for the Rupani government to ensure that Dalits as well as landless and exploited people are granted possession of their land. If they fail to do so, we will block the highway and prevent the chief minister from approaching Dr Ambedkar’s statue (on Ambedkar Jayanti),” he said.

Mewani claimed that the BJP government was targeting him and Chandrasekhar in an attempt to divert the people’s attention from the core issues of “roti, kapda, makaan, chikitsa and rozgar”. He also condemned the alleged reduction in budgetary allocation for scheduled caste and tribe communities by Rs 1,11,750 crore.

“They target us because we raise these issues,” Mewani said. “Muslims and Dalits should unite in the light of the 2019 Lok Sabha polls. Led by women and youth, we will prevent (Narendra) Modi and Yogi from coming to power again.”

The Gujarat MLA challenged the Modi government to fulfil the promise of generating two crore jobs every year at least for RSS and ABVP workers, stating that he would gladly “quit public life” if it did so. He also accused the Prime Minister of having an “undeclared understanding” with Pakistan. “If that’s not the case, why are we not taking any action against Hafiz Saeed or Dawood Ibrahim? A war before the 2019 polls could be a new gimmick to divert the people’s attention from the basic issues plaguing both the countries,” Mewani said.

As parting advice, he urged Dalits to work towards achieving complete economic independence and “celebrate Valentine’s Day without fear”.

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 21:18 IST