Jignesh Mevani, Dalit politician and independent MLA from Vadgam constituency in Gujarat was detained by the Gujarat police on February 18 to ‘maintain law and order in the state’ right before he was to attend a rally in Ahmedabad.
The rally was scheduled in protest after 60-year-old Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar self-immolated himself outside the Patan collector’s office on February 15 and died the very next day. Bhanu Vankar’s fight was against authorities who were allegedly not allotting a plot to a Dalit landless labourer Hemaben Vankar’s family even though she had paid the necessary fees of ₹22,236 in 2013.
According to media reports, Bhanu Vankar had written a letter to chief minister Vijay Rupani last month, warning him of taking the extreme step if adequate action was not taken. An advisory had also been sent to the collectorate from the chief minister’s office.
In north Gujarat, thousands of Dalits came out on the streets to protest after the death of Bhanu Vankar.
In this interview, conducted right before the 2017 Gujarat elections, Mevani tells us about the reality of caste, ‘Gujarat model’, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and much more.
Interview conducted by Prashant Jha.