LUCKNOW: In a clear cut attempt to forge a coalition between the Dalits and pro-Communist forces in Uttar Pradesh, ahead of the 2017 assembly elections, Jignesh Mevani – the face of Una’s Dalit movement gave a clarion call by ending his speech with ‘Laal Salaam’ and ‘Neela Salaam’. Mevani, the convenor of the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladai Samiti (UDALS) was scheduled to address the all India meet of Jaati Unmulan Aandolan (Movement to Alleviate Caste System), but owing to ill-health could not turn up at Gangaprasad Memorial Hall, Aminabad – the venue of the programme.
In his address, which was read by Sanjeev (an activist working for restoration of Dalit rights), Jignesh said, “Due to serious health issue (neck pain, back pain, fever, throat infection all together), I am not able to participate. But, I’m totally associated with the cause.” He further stated that annihilation of caste system should be the ultimate aim of any dalit movement.
Mevani went on to state that sessions have already been held starting with Una followed by Udipi (Karnataka), Thrissur and Trivandrum (both in Kerala), and now the conference is being held in Lucknow. “The motto of our organisation Rastriya Dalit Adhikar Manch is – Sangharsh Asmita aur Astitva Ke Liye – Jati-Nirmulan Tak (struggle for dignity and existence till annihilation of caste system). Though we are still evolving, our heart knows that we are on the right track and hence on the same wavelength with you,” Jignesh mentioned.
Reiterating his slogan Gaay ki punchh tum rakho, humme hamari zameen do (you keep the cow’s tail, give us our land), Jignesh, said, “Our agenda to promote inter-caste marriages and we also propose that whenever land is allotted to dalits, priority be given to women and even amongst women priority be given to Valmiki women and even amongst them priority be given to widow Valmiki women and even amongst them priority be given to physically challenged widow Valmiki women and even amongst them priority be given to those physically challenged widow Valmiki women who are engaged into manual scavenging. This is where we want our democracy to reach to.”
Land reforms are also vital for the entire nation for it helps evolve and agrarian economy which is conducive for higher levels of productivity meaning it has to do creating wealth for the entire nation and improve the purchasing power of rural folk. Rastriya Dalit Adhikar Manch is planning to have branches and wings and create a nationwide coordinating team which will work on the issue of land-reforms. “It is our attempt to bring all the dalit movements under this umbrella in coming days and work together for common cause,” Mevani said.