Jignesh Mevani, face of Dalit protests over Una flogging resigns from AAP

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The face of ‘Dalit Asmita Yatra’ in Gujarat, activist Jignesh Mevani, has reportedly resigned from the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP).

A report in Times of India said that Mevani resigned on Saturday after a series of allegations were levelled by the BJP, Dalit rights activists and NGOs that the protest over Una incident was driven by AAP.

“I have resigned from AAP as people of the BJP, some Dalit rights activists and NGOs had started a negative campaign against the Dalit agitation just because of my AAP membership,” Mevani said.

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Mevani added that he was convinced the BJP will suffer because of these yatras.

“It was under BJP that Dalits suffered most. It is under their rule that atrocities against socially-backward communities have increased sharply. Cow vigilante groups are a gift of Modi,” he said at a press conference.

He said that AAP never tried to extract political mileage from the Dalit movement.

He added, “I am one of the leaders, yet some jealous elements from the Dalit community and BJP workers tried to create a wrong impression about me. So, to avoid any further gandagi (dirt) from such elements, I am resigning from AAP. This was and will remain the genuine Dalit struggle.”

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“I want to preserve the sanctity of the movement we’ve just started. We don’t want the movement to suffer because of my association with any party,” he added.

Dalits in Gujarat have been protesting since four members of their community were publicly thrashed by right-wing Hindutva brigade on 11 July on suspicion of transporting cow leather and skinning dead cows.

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The  protests also saw the shocked resignation of the former chief minister Anandiben Patel. The protests since then have only spiralled out of control forcing Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make unusual statement by condemning the acts of terror by militants masquerading as cow-protectors.

 

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