By Abdul Bari Masoud, MuslimMirror.com
NEW DELHI: Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his “calculated silence” over attacks on the Dalit rally in Pune, newly elected MLA and young Dalit leader from Gujarat Jignesh Mevani on Friday dared the PM to choose between “the ‘Manusmriti and the Constitution”. Announcing a mega rally for social justice in the Capital on January 9, Mevani stoutly denied making any inflammatory speech at the Pune rally. He accused the ruling BJP and its mentor RSS for targeting him because of his “growing popularity”.
Undeterred by the FIR filed by the BJP-led Maharashtra government in Pune, 36- year old Mevani addressed a press conference at the Press Club of India here a day after he was not allowed to hold any conference in Mumbai. Coming down heavily on the PM Modi, Dalit leader from his own state asked him to speak up on whether Dalits in this country have the right to hold peaceful rallies and protest?
He questioned the PM’s silence over the repeated attacks on Dalits in the BJP-ruled states.
“Why the PM is silent, jou Khud ko Dr Ambedkar ka bhagt kehtey hain, daliton par atiyachar per khamush kyun hain?”
“The Prime Minister is a self-proclaimed Ambedkarite, a follower of Dr. BR Ambedkar, why is he silent? Why are Dalits being attacked ? Why are Dalits not safe and secure in India? We want to know if he has any commitment to the annihilation of caste which was the core agenda of Dr. Ambedkar,” Mevani asked.
Making multiple attacks on the PM, Mevani warned that Dalit will teach him a lesson in the coming general elections.
“If Dalits continue to be targeted and my reputation is continued to be tarnished, Mr. PM we will teach you a lesson in 2019”.
He also announced that said Dalit youths would take out a rally on January 9 in the national capital to the Prime Minister’s Office with two books.
“We will also visit the PM’s office with the Manusmriti and the Constitution and ask him what he chooses,” he added.
Mevani, who won from the Vadgam seat in the Gujarat Assembly elections last month, said the ruling BJP and its mentor RSS is “threatened by his growing popularity”. He accused BJP and RSS of “attacking him because they arrogantly thought they would win 150 seats in Gujarat and stopped at 99…and now are worried about the 2019 national election.”
On being booked by the Maharashtra government, he blamed the RSS and BJP for saying it was a well-planned attack on the Dalit rally on December 31 in Bhima-Koregaon, about 30 km away from Pune. He also slammed a section of Upper-caste dominated media for not presenting the true picture of violent attacks on Dalits calling it as a “clash between Dalits and Marathas”.
He strongly denied making any inflammatory speech. “Neither did I make any inflammatory speech nor did I take part in the bandh in Maharashtra.
“I would like to tell you that I didn’t utter a single word which can be termed ‘inflammatory’. I am a trained lawyer, I respect the law, I am also a lawmaker now” he added
Mevani called the charges against him a “childish attempt” to target him.
The case filed in Pune alleges that Mevani and JNU student leader Umar Khalid made provocative speeches at the event organized to commemorate the 200 anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon on January 1. They urged the gathering to take their fight for social justice to the streets. The police have said they are analyzing the speeches and the two may be summoned for questioning.
It should be noted that Dalits celebrate the victory of British troops made up of Dalit soldiers over Brahmin Peshwas.