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Modi government poses threat to democracy, Constitution: Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani in Yuva Hunkar rally

The newly-elected MLA from Vadgam in Gujarat termed the refusal to grant permission to the 'Yuva Hunkar' rally in Parliament Street an example of the "Gujarat model" of politics.

Published: 09th January 2018 04:08 PM  |   Last Updated: 10th January 2018 08:15 AM   |  A+A-

Dalit leader and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani addresses the 'Youth Hunkar' rally in New Delhi on Tuesday. | PTI

By Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The Narendra Modi government poses a "threat" to the country's democracy and Constitution, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani said today at a youth rally for which the Delhi Police had refused permission.

Newly-elected MLA from Vadgam in Gujarat and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday finally held a Yuva Hunkaar Rally near Jantar Mantar here, which was attended by just 200 people against an expected 5,000. Almost half-a-dozen speakers—including farmers’ rights activist Akhil Gogoi, JNU students Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid, JNU Students’ Union ex-president Kanahiya Kumar—took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the rally.

Mevani termed the refusal to grant permission to the 'Yuva Hunkar' rally in Parliament Street an example of the "Gujarat model" of politics.

“You have to answer on the violence on Dalits, violence in Saharanpur and 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,” Mevani said at the rally.

"The 125 crore people of this country are watching that someone is not being allowed to speak for merely demanding the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, effective implementation of the Constitution and two crore jobs to the youth."

"If an elected representative does not have the right to do so, then this is Gujarat model," Mevani said to loud cheers from a crowd comprising student activists from Delhi, Lucknow and Allahabad among other places.

Mevani said police would detain him whenever Modi visited Ahmedabad. “Now I have come to Delhi and they are trying to detain me again. Bharatiya Janata Party has only practiced politics of breaking the country. I will practice politics of joining the country,” he said.

The rally -- held in Parliament Street in the heart of the national capital where prohibitory orders are in force through the year -- was demanding the release of Dalit outfit Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad.

The gathering also sought to emphasise issues like educational rights, employment, livelihood and gender justice.

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Mevani said he will stand guard against the politics of hatred and stick to constitutional values and the "politics of love", along with the lines of statements made by Congress President Rahul Gandhi after the Gujarat polls.

"I believe in politics of unity. I believe in politics of love, not love jihad. Alpesh Thakore, Hardik Patel and I are being targeted because we demolished their (BJP) pride and arrogance in Gujarat.There's a looming threat to our democracy and Constitution today," he said.

His supporters turned up with posters bearing his image.

Although authorities had maintained till the last minute that Mevani and his supporters did not have permission to hold the event, it seems the rally organisers and Delhi Police reached a compromise later.

The rally, which began around 1 pm, saw a modest turnout.

Former and current JNU student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid were present on the stage, metres away from the Parliament Street Police Station.

Rashid targeted Uttar Pradesh CM Yogi Adityanath, “We’re establishing a direct contact with youth through this. While youth leaders are being put in jail, the UP government is wrapping up cases against its CM.”

Kanahaiya Kumar said, “We are standing here for the Constitution not for any particular religion or community. They try and portray we are against Hindus, no we aren’t. Only Nathuram will win if it becomes a fight between Allah and Ram.”

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.

Azad (30) was arrested in June last year from Himachal Pradesh as he is the main accused in Thakur-Dalit clashes in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district.

His supporters turned up with posters bearing his image.

(with PTI inputs)

 

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