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Mevani holds ‘Yuva Hunkar’ rally in Delhi, says PM Modi to speak up on Bhima Koregaon violence

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(G.N.S) Dt. 09
New Delhi
Newly-elected Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani launched an attack against the ruling BJP in his address at the ‘Yuva Hunkar’ rally on Tuesday. Saying that the saffron party was irked because of its marginal win in the recently concluded Gujarat polls, Mevani said, “Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani crushed BJP’s target of 150 seats in Gujarat and that is why I am being targetted.”
The rally was oragnised to raise the demand for the release of Dalit outfit Bhim Army’s founder Chandrashekhar Azad who was arrested last year in connection with the Thakur-Dalit clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district.
Mevani, who held the rally at the Parliament Street despite police denying permission, asked Prime Minister Modi to speak up on Bhima Koregaon violence. “It is you who has to answer the reason behind violence on Dalits, violence in Saharanpur, in Bhima Koregaon. You have to answer why Rohit Vemula was killed. You have to answer why people are not getting the money that is in the foreign accounts of Indians. You have to answer why millions of people are not getting jobs despite promises,” he said.
“The way corruption, poverty, unemployment and the real issues are being swept under the carpet and ghar wapasi, love jihad and cows are being given space, we stand against that. We do not believe in love jihad. We are the believers of love. We will celebrate April 14 (Ambedkar Jayanti) and February 14 (Valentine’s Day).”
Reacting to Minister of State MoS, Anantkumar Hegde’s remarks on the Constitution, Mevani said, “We believe in the constitution and will protect it. You attack me as much as you want, I will stick to the Constitution. PM Modi has to choose between the two, Manusmriti and the constitution. These aren’t books, but belief systems” Addressing a rally in Karnataka recently, Hegde had that the BJP had come to power to “change the Constitution” and would do so in the “near future”.
Former and current JNU student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid and Assam farmers leader Akhil Gogoi also spoke at the rally.
The Delhi Police had denied permission to Mevani and others to conduct the rally citing an NGT order that had banned any kind of protests at Jantar Mantar. The organisers, however, claim that their protest is on Parliament Street and not Jantar Mantar where NGT has imposed restrictions. “Unfortunate. We were just going to demonstrate democratically and peacefully, the Govt is targeting us, an elected representative is not being allowed to speak,” Mevani had said before the rally began.
After the rally, the organisers also plan to walk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s official residence at Lok Kalyan Marg to hand over a copy of the Indian Constitution and the ‘Manusmriti’ to him and ask him to choose between the two. The crowd raises slogans asking freedom for Bhim Army’s founder Chandrashekhar Azad. Owing to tight security in the area, there was only a modest turnout at the Parliament Street today.
We believe in the constitution and will protect it. You attack me as much as you want, I will stick to the Constitution: Mevani at the rally
“We are not the believers of love jihad, we are the believers of pyaar and ishq. We will celebrate February 14,” Mevani said. “The way corruption, poverty, unemployment and the real issues are being swept under the carpet and ghar wapasi, love jihad and cows are being given space, we stand against that.”
“In the Bhima Koregaon violence, it is not me who has to answer, but Prime Minister Modi. It is you who has to answer the reason behind violence on Dalits, violence in Saharanpur, in Bhima Koregaon. You have to answer why Rohit Vemula was killed. You have to answer why people are not getting the money that is in the foreign accounts of Indians.”
Jignesh Mevani has started speaking at the rally. The media is questioning us about the denial of permission by police. All that we want to say that the country is seeing and that we want Azad to be released. I am being targetted because of the way in which Hardik Patel, Alpesh Thakore and Jignesh Mevani crushed BJP’s target of 150 seats in Gujarat and restricted them to 99 seats. Modiji I am from your state of Gujarat and now I am also an MLA: Mevani.
Former JNU students union president Kanhaiya Kumar launched a scathing attack against the BJP. “BJP isn’t a party, it’s like a brand new washing machine, where something goes in but comes out sparkling clean. Of the 282 MPs, 109 MPs have serious crimes allegations against them. Not asking about Lalu, but what about Sukhram’s son or Mukul Roy?” he said. “We are not against any religion or any community, we are here for the constitution. We don’t have crowds, I agree. We don’t have crowds, but we have real, living breathing people.”
“They are afraid of Chandrashekhar, not because he’s a threat to the country: but to those who want to convert this to a Hindu RashtraThere’s no space for Dalits in the Hindu Rashtra that they envision,” JNU student Umar Khalid said at the rally.
Former and current JNU student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid were present at the rally that began at 1 pm. Assam farmers leader Akhil Gogoi and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan were also present apart from students from JNU, Delhi University, Lucknow University and Allahabad University among others.
The rally seeks to raise the demand for the release of Dalit outfit Bhim Army’s founder Chandrashekhar Azad who was arrested last year in connection with the Thakur-Dalit clashes in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district. The rally also aims to emphasise on issues like educational rights, employment, livelihood and gender justice. Many supporters turned up with posters bearing his image to participate in the protest.
Calling the situation “unfortunate”, Mr Mevani said the government was “targeting” him. Last week, a case was filed against the 37-year-old lawyer activist following the caste clashes near Pune that spread and affected the parts of Maharashtra for three days.
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“We were just going to demonstrate democratically and peacefully, the government is targeting us, an elected representative is not being allowed to speak,” Mr Mevani told reporters.
The Delhi police have posted troops across Jantar Mantar — the designated area of protest in the capital till it was banned by the Green Court — and Parliament Street, where the protest is expected to be held. Extra troops have been called in from the neighbouring states.
Ahead of today’s rally, Mr Mevani had announced his intention to visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Office. At a press conference on Friday, he had said that he intended to knock at the PM’s door with two books, the Manusmriti and the Constitution, “and ask him what he chooses”.
The Delhi Police refused permission for the rally this morning, have cited a green court order that bans protests in the heart of the city. “Since there is an NGT (National Green Tribunal) order that no protest can be staged at Jantar Mantar, we have asked organisers to hold the protest at alternate sites like Ramlila Maidan,” senior police officer Ajay Chaudhary said.
Rally organiser Mohit Kumar Pandey said they had not been informed about the police denial of permission. “Recently, the BMS group and the farmers groups carried out their rallies here. So, similarly, we want to hold our rally under the constitutional arena”.
The protesters say they demand the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, the founder of the Dalit group Bhim Army, employment to the youth, stopping discrimination against Dalits and allow minority groups to protest.
Mr Mevani has been accused of inciting the recent caste clashes at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune, which spread across the next day. Last week, a case was filed against him by the Pune police, which accused him of spreading enmity among castes.
The clashes, which cost a life, had started at Bhima Koregaon, where the Dalits traditionally celebrate the victory of a British regiment, said to comprise Dalits, against the army of the Peshwa, the Maratha Brahmin ruler. Mr Mevani had attended a function in the area the day before.
Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested last June over the caste clashes in Saharanpur, in which two persons died and at least 20 were injured. Around 40 people were arrested after the month-long clashes. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called the clashes the result of a “well-planned conspiracy”.
Last week, the Mumbai police had refused permission for an event where Mr Mevani was one of the speakers.

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