Ahmedabad: A 'Freedom March' would be taken out on 12 July from Mehsana town to commemorate the first anniversary of the Una Dalit flogging incident, Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani said on Friday.
A day before the march, Dalit activists as well as the victims of atrocities from across India, including the Una incident victims, will gather in Ahmedabad to participate in a conclave where they would highlight their demands.
The Dalit leader warned the ruling BJP that it would face "consequences" during this year's assembly election if the state government did not accept their demands.
According to Mevani, the march, named as 'Azadi Kooch,' would commence from Mehsana town and will end at a village in Banaskantha district of north Gujarat or at Rapar village of Kutch district after seven days.
"During the July 11 gathering (in Ahmedabad), we will ask the government to keep their cows and give us jobs, land, houses, employment and education. Victims of cow politics as well as Dalit scholars from across the country will take part in this conclave. Una victims will also remain present," Mevani, who has been leading the Dalit agitation in Gujarat following the Una Dalit flogging incident, said in a press conference here.
He alleged that despite promises made to Dalits by the Gujarat government as well as the Centre, nothing has changed on the ground even after one year of the Una incident.
"On the contrary, attacks on Dalits and Muslims have gone up after BJP's push for cow protection. Gau-rakshaks are enjoying protection from the government. Therefore, on July 11, we will tell the government to keep the cows and give us what we have been promised," Mevani, who is the convener of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, said.
According to Mevani, the key agenda of this march is to mount pressure on the Gujarat government to allocate agricultural land to Dalits, so that they can start a new life with dignity.
"Dalits want freedom from cleaning gutters as well as from the ancestral work of disposing animal carcasses. We want the government to start the allocation of 1.63 lakh acres of land to Dalits and landless farmers as per the law. We will seek support of OBCs, farmers and other communities for our movement," said Mevani.
The Dalit leader also said that the ruling BJP would have to face consequences in this year's assembly elections if the state government did not accept their demands.
"If Dalits, OBCs and other eligible communities will not be given this agricultural land, we will give a call to vote against the BJP in this year's polls," he added.
On 11 July last year, seven Dalits of Mota Samadhiyala village of Una taluka in Gir-Somnath district were allegedly thrashed by cow vigilantes when they were skinning a dead cow.
Later, four of these Dalit youths were taken to Una town, where they were tied up with a vehicle and allegedly thrashed by the gau-rakshaks. The matter came to light after a video of the incident, allegedly made by the vigilantes, went viral on social media platforms and created a huge uproar among people.
Updated Date: Jun 24, 2017 12:22 PM