New Delhi, Jan 9: Despite the police denying permission Dalit leader and Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday went ahead with his Yuva Hunkar rally in Delhi.  Nearly 15,000 security personnel – armed with water cannons and tear gas – were deployed in areas near Jantar Mantar and Parliament Street in the national capital to prevent protesters from carrying out a march to the Parliament building.  Later speaking at the gathering, Mevani targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi.  He described the situation as “unfortunate” and said that the government was “targeting” him.Also Read - Delhi Pollution Update: Delhi's Air Quality This November Worst For the Month in Seven Years

Last week, a case was filed against the 37-year-old lawyer-activist following the caste clashes near Pune that affected the parts of Maharashtra and Mumbai for three days. Also Read - Attention Flyers! Be Prepared For Longer Wait at Delhi Airport After New Omicron Guidelines | Deets Inside

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    • “We were just going to protest democratically and peacefully, the government is targeting us, an elected representative is not being allowed to speak,” Mevani told media.
    • The way corruption, poverty, unemployment and the real issues are being swept under the carpet and ghar wapasi, love jihad and cows are being given space, we stand against that, Mevani said.
    • The rally, which began around 1 pm just a few metres away from the Parliament Street police station, witness a huge turnout of Mevani’s supporters. The newly elected Gujarat legislator shared the stage with JNU student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar, Umar Khalid and Shehla Rashid. Akhil Gogoi, Assam’s farmer leader and senior Supreme Court lawyer Prashant Bhushan also attended the rally.
    • The cops in the national capital posted troops across Jantar Mantar – the designated area of protest in the capital till it was banned by the Green Court – and Parliament Street, where the protest is expected to be held. Extra troops were also called in from the neighbouring districts.

  • Ahead of the rally, Mevani had announced his intention to visit Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Office. At a press conference on Friday, he had said that he intended to knock at the PM’s door with two books, the Constitution and the Manusmriti, “and ask him what he chooses”.
  • Mevani had earlier questioned PM Modi’s silence over atrocities on Dalits in the country. He urged him to speak up on the violence against the community in the last three years.
  • “Dalits were attacked when they held a peaceful rally in Bhima-Koregaon. Why is Modiji silent on violence against Dalits? He must clarify his stand,” he said.
  • The Gujarat MLA recalled instances of Dalit atrocities in the past three years such as the Rohith Vemula suicide case, thrashing of Dalit youths in Gujarat’s Una, and Saharanpur caste clash.
  •  “Modiji calls himself an Ambedkarite, a follower of (B.R.) Ambedkar. Then why has he not spoken a word in these cases yet. There has been no action either. Why are Dalits not safe?” Mevani said.
  • Jignesh Mevani has also been accused of fanning violence in Pune’s Bhima-Koregaon on January 1. Mevani, an independent MLA from Gujarat’s Vadnagar, had attended a Dalit event Bhima-Koregaon. The violence spilled to many parts of Maharashtra, including capital Mumbai.
  • On Tuesday morning, the Delhi police officials refused permission for the rally, citing a green court order that bans protests in the heart of the city. “Since there is a 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,” police said.
  • The protesters said that they demand the release of Chandrashekhar Azad, the founder of Bhim Army, employment to the youth, stopping discrimination against Dalits and allow minority groups to protest.
  • The legislator has been accused of inciting violence at Bhima-Koregaon near Pune, which spread across the state next day. Last week, a case was filed against him by the Pune police, which accused him of spreading enmity among castes.
  • The clashes, in which one of the protesters died, had started at Bhima Koregaon, where the Dalits traditionally celebrate the victory of the British regiment, said to compromise Dalits, against the army of the Peshwa, the Maratha Brahmin ruler. A day before the incident, Mevani had attended a function in the area.
  • In June 2017, Chandrashekhar Azad was arrested over the caste clashes in Saharanpur, in which two persons died and at least 20 others were injured. Around 40 people were arrested after the month-long clashes. Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath had called the clashes as a result of a “well-planned conspiracy”.
  • The Mumbai police had also refused permission for an event where Jignesh Mevani was one of the speakers.