Govt is Failing New Generation of Dalits Wanting to Assert Its Rights, Says Activist
Ahmedabad: Dalit rights activists on Tuesday accused the Gujarat government of being a mute spectator and failing to ensure the safety of members of community after some of their marriage processions were targeted by members of other communities in villages in the northern part of the state.
In a press conference, rights activists Martin Macwan said the Vijay Rupani government had failed to protect law of the land as Dalits continued to face discrimination.
Vadgam’s Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani, who was also present during the press meet, said, “At least five such incidents have occurred in the last few days wherein Dalit grooms’ wedding processions faced protests by upper castes and members of OBCs as they felt that Dalit grooms can’t ride horses. The situation is so serious in the state that Dalits are unable to take out marriage processions. More importantly, the chief minister has not uttered a single word on this discrimination.”
Mevani said Rupani, as a responsible CM, should have appealed to people to stop behaving in a hateful manner against Dalits.
He also lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for remaining silent on atrocities against Dalits in his home state even as he continued to refer to the Alwar gang rape incident in his poll rallies.
“One of the common things in all these incidents was that police were informed well in-advance, but no action was taken. The new generation of Dalits want equal rights and social justice. So, for the first time, Dalit grooms are taking out wedding procession on horses in their respective villages as an assertion of their rights. But the state government has failed to provide security to the community members and ‘lawlessness’ was seen everywhere,” Macwan told News18.
These incidents did not reveal any new atrocity, but now untouchability was still prevalent in our society, Macwan added
“So, we will continue our fights and organise two major events in the coming days. On May 18, a sammelan will be held at Nani Devati village near Ahmedabad to chalk out future protest plans. We will also organise a ‘bensa of untouchability’ at Lhor village near Kadi town on May 22 from where local villagers had announced a social boycott after a Dalit man took out a wedding procession,” Macwan said.
On Sunday, a Dalit wedding procession was blocked by members of an upper caste community at Khambisar village in Aravalli district, after which stones were pelted, leading to tension in the village.
In a similar incident on the same day at Sitvada village in Sabarkantha district, the wedding procession of a Dalit groom had to be provided police protection after members of the OBC Thakor community opposed it.
Similarly, Thakor community members objected to a wedding procession as the groom was riding a horse on way to the marriage venue at Lhor village in Mehsana district last week.
“Even after such shameful incidents, neither the CM nor Social Justice Minister Ishwar Parmar has visited any of the affected families,” Mewani said.
The MLA further demanded action against Aravalli’s Deputy Superintendent of Police Falguni Patel who was allegedly seen in one of the video clips abusing Dalits at Khambisar village after clashes erupted over a marriage procession.