Gujarat Dalit rights activist, Jignesh Mevani and 200 supporters, who were demonstrating outside the Ahmedabad District Collectorate, were detained on Monday. Two women members of the rights group, who are fighting for land allocation to Dalits, reportedly fainted and their health deteriorated during the detention.
The Dalit activists were taken to Shahibaug Police Headquarters around 11.30 a.m. and Mevani alleged that no medical help was provided for several hours. The activists had been demanding land for Dalits in the Dholka region of Ahmedabad district, allotted to them under the Agricultural Land Ceiling (ALC) Act for many years.
There are 331 allottees in Saroda village of Dholka under the ALC Act, most of whom are Dalits.
When requests for medical help to the police reportedly failed Mevani posted his protest through his Facebook page. He asserted, "Gujarat Model: pathetic, obnoxious and disastrous. Even after an hour of fainting … women are not being taken to hospital …. These women …are bona fide owners …We are all under detention and ready to face anything."
He also added, "Ye andolan ab rukne wala nahi (this agitation won't stop now)…we want our land at any cost." Mevani said land allotment to Dalits in the region had remained on paper for years. He threatened the District Collector that if the allotment process was not initiated immediately, the activists would launch a 'rasta roko' (road block) agitation from the busy Income Tax Crossroads in Ahmedabad.
Mevani was also rounded up hours before a public demonstration that he had announced in protest against the murder of a Muslim youth, Mohammed Ayyub, in the city allegedly by cow vigilantes last week. He had given a call for Dalit-Muslim unity and stated that just like the Muslims had supported the torture victims of Una, the Dalits would also back them.
He had termed the killing of Ayyub on September 12 by cow vigilantes as Dadri-2 comparing it with the lynching of a Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh on charges of cow slaughter earlier this year.