The ‘Yuva Hunkaar rally” may go ahead without permission. In a statement, the organisers have urged the prospective participants to “assemble on the Parliament Street at 12 pm tomorrow,” reported news agency Press Trust of India. The police are getting ready with water cannons and tear gas to control the crowds, sources said.
In the evening, a tweet from Delhi Police read, “No permission granted so far by Delhi Police to hold proposed protest at Parliament Street in view of NGT orders. Organisers have been constantly advised to go to alternate site which they are reluctant to accept”.
Mr Mevani was expected to address the protesters along with Akhil Gogoi, a farmer leader from Assam. Several student leaders from Delhi’s prestigious Jaaharlal Nehru University, including Kanhaiya Kumar, were expected to attend the rally, meant to seek the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, the founder of Dalit group Bhim Army. Mr Azad — the main accused in the Thakur-Dalit clash in Uttar Pradesh’s Saharanpur district — was arrested last June.
Speaking at a function in Delhi on Friday, Mr Mevani had said that he intended to knock at the PM’s door with two books, the Manusmriti and the Constitution, “and ask him what he chooses”.
Mr Mewani, who won the recent assembly elections in Gujarat from Vadgam with support from the Congress, has had a case filed against him in Pune, which accused him of spreading enmity among castes. Denying the charges, he hinted that the arrest was a retaliatory move by the BJP, which was feeling “threatened” by his “growing popularity”.
After his release, he sharpened his attacks on PM Modi, saying the Prime Minister, as a self-proclaimed follower of Dalit icon BR Ambedkar, must answer why Dalits were not secure in India. We want to know if he has any commitment to the annihilation of caste…which was Dr Ambedkar’s ultimate goal,” he had said.
“If Dalits continue to be targeted and my reputation is continued to be tarnished, Mr PM we will teach you a lesson in 2019,” he had added.