Mevani's Hunkar rally underway in Delhi's Parliament Street

Pauline Gross
January 10, 2018

The rally demanded the release of Bhim Army founder Chandrashekhar Azad who was arrested previous year in connection with the Dalit-Thakur clashes in Saharanpur, Uttar Pradesh.

Mevani was reported to hold a rally demanding Dalit rights and release of Chandrashekhar after the government was accused of perpetrating violence against Dalits in Pune violence last week.

"The 125 crore people of this country are watching that someone is not being allowed to speak for merely demanding the release of Chandrashekhar Azad and effective implementation of the Constitution and two crore jobs for the youth", he said.

The organisers said after the rally, a delegation will walk to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's official residence at Lok Kalyan Marg to hand over a copy of the Indian Constitution and the "Manusmriti" to him, and ask him to choose between the two.

"The way in which Hardik (Patel), Alpesh (Thakore) and Jignesh (Mevani) with the support of the youth in Gujarat brought the BJP down from over 150 seats (target set by BJP in Gujarat) to 99 seats".

Mevani said he knows how to speak the language of "love". We are not love jihad guys. "You (Modi) have to answer why Rohit Vemula was killed".

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"If an elected representative does not have the right to do so, then this is the Gujarat model", Mevani said to loud cheers from a crowd comprising student activists from Delhi, Lucknow and Allahabad, among other places.

One of the organisers and former JNU Students' Union president Mohit Kumar Pandey said, "There has been a lot of attempts to stop this event and even some media houses are spreading wrong information that the permission for the rally has been denied". His supporters turned up at the rally with posters bearing his image. "BJP isn't a party, it's like a brand new washing machine, where something goes in but comes out sparkling clean".

"Throughout the election campaign we said that for 22 years the BJP followed the politics of division, while we always spoke about binding people together", he said. "There's no space for Dalits in the Hindu Rashtra that they envision", JNU student Umar Khalid said at the rally. "With this politics we will continue our fight for justice", Kanhaiya said. Assam's farmer leader Akhil Gogoi and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also attended the rally.

Some 1,500 security personnel in riot gear, with tear gas launchers and water cannons, were deployed on Parliament Street.

A senior officer from New Delhi district told PTI that additional forces from other districts of the city have been called in.

Other reports by GizPress

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