Jignesh, Kanhaiya detained in Gujarat for holding rally sans permission

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Mehsana (Gujarat), July 12 (IANS) Young Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, former Jawaharlal Nehru University Student Union President Kanhaiya Kumar and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti woman activist Reshma Patel were detained on Wednesday for holding a public meeting defying police orders.

The group held a public meeting at Somnath Chowk in this town in north Gujarat as part of ‘Azadi kooch’ (freedom march) from Mehsana to Dhanera in Banaskantha district. Mevani had planned this march to mark one year of public flogging of four Dalit youths at Una by self-styled cow protection group on July 11, 2016.

The four victims, however, neither joined the proposed public meeting nor a gathering of Dalits from different parts of Gujarat in Ahmedabad on Tuesday to mark one year of the attack on them.

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Police detained as many as 200 persons, including Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar from Nani Dau village on Palanpur-Mehsana highway before the public meeting could take place. Police also filed an FIR against Mevani, Kanhaiya and Reshma Patel.

Mevani said later that his organization Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch was not granted permission to hold the rally under instructions from Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, who hails from Mehsana.

Mevani claimed in a message on the social media message that an attempt was made to assault him in the presence of police. The group was to march to Dhanera, also in north Gujarat, and till the fields of Dalit farmers who were yet to be officially handed over land which was already allotted to them.

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