The Una Dalit Fight against Atrocities Committee on Monday decided to give 30 days to the central government to fulfil their demands, which include five acres of land to Dalit families. At the meeting on the 70th anniversary of Independence Day in the Gujarat town, the forum's convenor Jignesh Mevani said they will take up more aggressive courses of action, like rail roko and jail bharo protests, if the Narendra Modi government does not pay heed to their call.
Radhika Vemula, whose scholar son Rohith Vemula killed himself in January citing caste-based discrimination by the Hyderabad University administration, unfurled the national flag at the event. Jawaharlal Nehru University student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, who was also present at the event, said the country does not belong to Modi alone but to everyone else. Kumar was arrested in February on sedition charges for allegedly shouting anti-national slogans at a protest against the judicial hanging of Parliament attacks convict Afzal Guru.
Hundreds of Dalits reached the venue on Monday after marching from Ahmedabad for more than a week, as a sign of protest against the recent assault of men from the community for skinning a dead cow in the area. Members of the Muslim community in the region also marched with the crowd expressing their solidarity for basic rights for the Scheduled Castes.
During his Independence Day speech, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the country needs to fight social evils like caste-based discrimination. According to him, a divided society cannot survive and his government will take strict action against such incidents. On August 5, Modi had criticised the self-proclaimed gau rakshaks in the country. He had said such groups indulge in antisocial activities; cow vigilantism is just a ruse to hide their misdeeds.