JAIPUR: When Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mewani announced at a press conference that he would set about getting Dalits to vow not to vote for BJP, there was some disbelief. “If not for BJP, then who?” he was asked. “That is for the people to decide. We want a party that will work for the people,” he said, leaving the reporter who raised the question confused by the apparent ambiguity. Mewani and social activists toured Neem ka Thana in Sikar and Khairtal in Alwar on Sunday to meet people who had suffered at the hands of police on Bharat Bandh on April 2.
Aruna Roy of the Mazdoor Kisan Shakti Sanghatan said Rajasthan was allowing the rampant spread of hatred and violence and instead coming down harshly on people seeking to spread peace and love. “We want to assert that we will not allow the state to impose Section 144 of the Criminal Procedure Code to keep out people like Jignesh Mewani. For the common people, the streets are a site of mobilization.” Mewani was earlier prevented from addressing a meeting at Nagaur. On Sunday, the administration imposed Section 144 of CrPC in areas he intended to visit.
Roy said the government must fix responsibility for the large number of arrests, and a special investigation team must probe the violence unleashed by arms of the state. If the government does not order a probe, then the people’s movements will come together to conduct a survey and place its findings in the public domain, she said.
Activists say over 400 people are still detained in jails across the state after arrests in the wake of the April 2 bandh to prevent the apparent dilution of the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocities Act by the Supreme Court.