‘If Basavanna was alive, he would have said kagaz nahi dhikhayenge’

Jignesh Mevani, independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat, with freedom Fighter H.S. Doreswamy at a public meeting against NRC-CAA on Kalidasa Road in Bengaluru on Saturday.

Jignesh Mevani, independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat, with freedom Fighter H.S. Doreswamy at a public meeting against NRC-CAA on Kalidasa Road in Bengaluru on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Sudhakara Jain

Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani accused BJP of dividing people between ‘mandir and masjid’

Jignesh Mevani, independent MLA from Vadgam, Gujarat, who was in the city on Saturday, urged citizens to stand up against ‘communal politics’ and criticised the BJP for dividing people between ‘mandir and masjid’. The Dalit leader met residents of slums in Kariyamanna Agrahara and Thubarahalli, who have been living with the threat of eviction, and also addressed a public meeting near Freedom Park.

He was highly critical of the impact of the Citizenship Amendment Act and the government’s attempt to divide people along religious lines. “Those who believe in the ideas and ideals of Godse are building detention centres while those who have faith in the Constitution of India were building Bilal Baghs, Shaheen Bhags, Sabzi Baghs across the country to save the Constitution,” he said.

More often than not, marginalised communities are being targeted. “The Modi-Shah duo have a dream to be in the textbooks of the future. However, school children tomorrow will read about Shaheen Bagh (Delhi), Bilal Bagh (Bengaluru) and Sabzi Bagh (Patna) that have sprung up across the country,” he said.

Speaking to The Hindu on the sidelines of the event, Mr. Mevani said that the divisive initiatives of the Union government, like CAA, NRC and NPR, were also tactics to divert the attention of the people from burning issues like unemployment, price rise, privatisation of health and education sectors.

“This is the land of Basavanna. If Basavanna was alive, he would definitely have said kagaz nahi dhikhayenge.”

S. Varalakshmi, president of Karnataka State Anganwadi Workers' Association, said that doublespeak by the Prime Minister and Home Minister on nationwide implementation of NRC was to confuse people. “The NRC exercise in Assam has been disastrous. It is not only unconstitutional but also unnecessary expenditure. The government that is ready to spend thousands of crores on this is not ready to pay pourakarmikas or anganwadi workers,” she added.

Ready for jail: H.S. Doreswamy

Freedom fighter H.S. Doreswamy, who has been spearheading protests in Bengaluru, cited the Delhi election result as an example of how people are voting against politics of hate.

“We are all ready for a jail baro movement. In fact, lakhs and lakhs of people across the country are ready to go to jail. Let us see what the government can do,” said Mr. Doreswamy, who was at the public meeting with MLA Jignesh Mevani.

“We should ensure that there are more and more people on the streets in the future. We should not rest till Modi-Shah are voted out in 2024,” he added. “Police and the Election Commission have become ineffective and inefficient in guarding the rights of the people,” he said.

Bilal Bagh protest gathers steam

The protest at Bilal Bagh on Tannery Road entered the eighth day on Saturday. Several persons, including historian Ramachandra Guha, addressed the protesters.

Activist Devika Jain, who was at Shaheen Bagh for a few days, shared her experience with the audience. The protest on Tannery Road has been planned along the lines of the one at Shaheen Bagh in New Delhi.

Protests were held in several parts of the city, including Town Hall.

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Printable version | Jul 15, 2020 4:13:27 PM |

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