National alliance for upliftment of Dalits coming soon
Hyderabad, Jan 18: At a time when the issue of atrocities against Dalits has once again come to the forefront in the aftermath of violence in Maharashtra during the 200th-anniversary celebrations of the battle of Bhima-Koregoan, activist-turned-politician Jignesh Mevani on Wednesday in Hyderabad indicated the launch of a nationwide alliance for the upliftment of Dalits.
The Gujarat legislator and Dalit leader added that he along with other like-minded people is planning to launch the alliance for Dalits soon. The most important work to be undertaken by the alliance is to provide land to the landless Dalits.
Speaking to reporters after visiting Manda Krishna Madiga, a Dalit leader who is currently lodged in a Hyderabad prison, Mevani said land being a major issue, every Dalit should be given five acres of land. 70 out of 100 Dalits are landless, he added.
Madiga, the founder of the Madiga Reservation Porata Samithi, was arrested recently during a protest for Scheduled Caste categorisation.
Mevani said, "In the coming days, I, along with Krishna Madiga and other Dalit, progressive and like-minded groups, want to launch a broad alliance for the upliftment of Dalits."
The newly-elected Gujarat legislator termed the death of University of Hyderabad scholar Rohith Vemula as "an institutional murder" and said that Vemula, had he been alive, would have joined him to meet Madiga.
Vemula had committed suicide in a hostel room on the varsity campus on January 16, 2016.
Mevani appealed to the Telangana government to release Madiga and termed his arrest as a curtailment of his fundamental rights.
"I appeal to the state government (Telangana) and police to release him immediately. He is struggling for the fundamental rights of his community. Individual liberty should not be curtailed this way," he said.
On Tuesday, controversy erupted after Mevani refused to speak in front of a journalist belonging to a particular television news channel during a press briefing in Chennai. Showing solidarity to the television scribe, other journalists decided to boycott Mevani's interaction with them.