New Delhi: Parts of Ahmedabad, Gandhinagar and Patan were brought to a standstill on Sunday after protesters blocked roads and some unidentified people torched vehicles over the death of Dalit activist Bhanubhai Vanakar two days ago. The protests gained more steam after MLA Jignesh Mevani, who had appealed to the Dalits to gather for protests, was detained in Ahmedabad, with crime branch officials saying the Dalit leader misbehaved with police. However, Mevani tweeted he was pulled out of a car by police in a “very uncivilised manner”. A total of 70 people were detained on Sunday.
Vankar, who had been agitating to get land alloted to two Dalit labourers in Patan district’s Dudhka village, had on Thursday set himself ablaze at the collector’s office. On Saturday, under pressure from Dalit activists, the government announced that the ownership title of the land would be given to the two Dalits for whom Vankar had been fighting. Vankar, 61, retired as a talati (revenue clerk) and was associated with the Mevani-led Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch after the Una Dalit flogging case of July 2016.
Kailash Barot, a resident of Sami in Patan district, sustained burn injuries during the protests on Sunday. She was admitted at Dharpur Medical College near Patan. (Express photo by Javed Raja)
Joint Commissioner of Police (Crime) J K Bhatt as saying that Mevani did not cooperate with police. “Many Dalit leaders of the city had assured us that peace will not be disturbed during protests. Unfortunately, Mevani didn’t give any such assurance.
So, as a precautionary measure, we have detained him,” Bhatt said. The police had registered an FIR on Friday against unknown persons under abettment to suicide, besides other sections of the IPC and sections of the Atrocities Act. However, Mevani countered the police version and said he was pulled out of the car in a very uncivilised manner and his car keys were also broken.
Jignesh Mevani was pulled out of the car in a very uncivilised manner , his car keys were broken and detained by the police while on the way to a peaceful protest at Ambedkar statue in Sarangpur, Ahmedabad. The protest was organised to meet the demands of deceased Bhanuji family
Two companies of anti-riot Rapid Action Force (RAF) and three companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) have been deployed in the city. Even though the Vijay Rupani-led government announced that it would accept the key demands of Vanakar’s family, Mevani had sought a circular conceding the demands. After his detention, Mevani claimed through his tweet that police misbehaved with him when he was on his way for “a peaceful protest at Ambedkar statue in Sarangpur”.
After news about Mevani’s detention spread, some unidentified people set a car on fire in Vadaj area of the city, police said.