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Govt behaves undemocratically, not allow Dalits to speak, says Jignesh Mevani

Govt behaves undemocratically, not allow Dalits to speak, says Jignesh Mevani

"We believe in pyar, ishq and mohabbat (love)", he said amid cheering crowds who had gathered at the venue to hear the Gujarat youth leader.

Mevani said at the rally that nobody believes he instigated the Bhima Koregaon violence.

Addressing the rally, Umar Khalid asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to answer the youth on his promises related to development and employment. Mevani stated real issues like corruption, poverty and unemployment are given less importance instead issues involving Ghar Wapasi, love jihad and cows are given space.

Commenting on the situation, Ajay Chaudhary, Joint Commissioner, Delhi Police, had said permission for the rally was denied in the wake of orders from the NGT that no protest can be staged at Jantar Mantar. Mevani has said repeatedly that he does not want to indulge in violence with the police and is only present there to hold a peaceful protest.

"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", he said.

Mevani attacked Modi and focused on issues such as the arrest of Azad and the death of Dalit student Rohith Vemula.

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Former JNU vice-president and student leader Shehla Rashid tweeted in response to the DCP's tweet saying that the rally would be held on Parliament Street.

Ever since the rally was announced on January 2, "a lot of money has been spent on posters calling Mevani a deshdrohi (traitor) and urban naxal", Pandey told PTI, adding the event will be held as per schedule.

The rally was oragnised to raise the demand for the release of Dalit outfit Bhim Army's founder Chandrashekhar Azad who was arrested in June a year ago from Himachal Pradesh in connection with the Thakur-Dalit clashes in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district. Alpesh Thakor, Hardik Patel and I are being targeted because we demolished the BJP's pride and arrogance in Gujarat. "We don't have crowds, but we have real, living breathing people".

Jignesh, who has been accused of incing caste tension in Maharashtra, on Friday said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have tried to tarnish his image due to the fear of set back in 2019 Lok Sabha election.

Assam peasant leader and anti-graft activist 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.

Some 1,500 security personnel in riot gear, with tear gas launchers and water cannons, were deployed on Parliament Street. Additional forces from other states had also been called in.


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