Delhi’s Jantar Mantar saw heavy deployment of forces today, as close to 1,500 police and paramilitary personnel were present to foil Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani. According to NDTV the forces were armed with tear gas and water cannons, and were deployed to foil the rally by an elected representative of the Gujarat Legislation.
The organisers are going ahead with the rally, even though the police have refused permission.”We were just going to demonstrate democratically and peacefully, the government is targeting us, an elected representative is not being allowed to speak,” Mr Mevani told reporters.
The Delhi Police have cited a green court order that bans protests in the heart of the city. “Nobody has been given permission. Since there is an NGT (National Green Tribunal) order that no protest can be staged at Jantar Mantar, we have asked organisers to hold the protest at alternate sites like Ramlila Maidan,” senor police officer Ajay Chaudhary has said.
Last week, the Mumbai police had refused permission for an event where Mevani was one of the speakers.
The Yuva Hunkar rally is meant to seek the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, a Dalit leader, who was arrested last June over the caste clashes in Saharanpur, in which two persons were killed and at least 20 people were injured.
Around 40 people were arrested after the clashes, which continued for the better part of May. While the Bhim Army, a group he formed, maintained it was championing the cause of Dalits, Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called the clashes the result of a “well-planned conspiracy”.
Earlier, Pune police had registered a criminal case against newly elected Gujarat Member of Legilative Assembly (MLA) Jignesh Mevani and student leader from Jawaharlal Nehru University Umar Khalid under charges of ‘creating communal disharmony’ through ‘provocative speeches’ they delivered at Elgaar Parishad held at Shaniwarwada in Pune on December 31.
Police has also added that they were analyzing speeches of duo in reference to complaint.