Jignesh Mevani, others detained ahead of Ahmedabad rally

Jignesh Mevani. File

Jignesh Mevani. File  

Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar's death triggers protests in north Gujarat

Gujarat police on Sunday detained Dalit activist and Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani as he was on his way to a rally in Ahmedabad to protest against the death of Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar.

Protests intensified after Bhanu Vankar, who attempted self-immolation in Gujarat on February 15, succumbed to severe burn injuries late on February 16.

Congress legislator and Dalit leader Naushad Solanki were also been detained by Ahmedabad cops. The police maintained that Mr. Mevani and others were taken into preventive custody to maintain law and order situation in the State.

However, Mr. Mevani alleged that the police pulled him out of his car, broke his car keys and detained him on the way to the protest venue at Ahmedabad.

“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,” Mr. Mevani posted on his official twitter handle.


Mr. Mevani and other supporters of deceased Bhanu Vankar — who set himself ablaze in front of Collector Office in Patan, North Gujarat in protest over delay in allotment of a land piece to a Dalit family — had earlier called for the Ahmedabad bandh.

The State government has deployed Rapid Action Force (RAF) teams in Gandhinagar where Bhanu Vankar’s body is kept in a civil hospital

On Saturday, the Gujarat government accepted the demands of family members of Bhanu Vankar who had refused to cremate him till their demands were accepted after it was brought for post-mortem to the Gandhinagar civil hospital.

Angry members of the Dalit community heckled BJP legislator Karsan Solanki when he rushed to meet the victim’s kin. Across north Gujarat, highways were blocked as thousands of Dalits came out on the streets to protest Bhanu Vankar’s death.


Bhanu Vankar was part of Mr. Mevani's Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch and he was fighting for Hemaben Vankar, a landless Dalit farm labourer, who had alleged that authorities were not allotting a plot to her family despite collecting ₹22,236 as fees in 2013.

On Saturday, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, in a press statement, said that the main demand of land allotment was accepted in a special case while the State also agreed to set up an inquiry commission, headed by a former high court judge or a Special Investigation Team (SIT), to probe the matter and stressed that no one found guilty will be spared.

Before the self-immolation bid at the Collector Office, Bhanu Vankar and the family he was fighting for had submitted a memorandum to the Collector a week ago, threatening self-immolation in case the land allotment matter was not sorted by the officials.

However, despite deployment of police outside the Patan Collector Office, Bhanu Vankar managed to set himself ablaze while other members who also tried to storm into the premises were detained by the cops.

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Printable version | Feb 28, 2020 9:34:14 AM |

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