Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani on Sunday said the annihilation of caste and corruption remain the two biggest challenges facing the country, reported The Indian Express.

“Casteism is a blot on democracy,” Mevani said at the 9th Bharatiya Chhatra Sansad organised by MIT World Peace University in Pune. “People do not want to admit and acknowledge issues of casteism. But it’s a reality that everyday, Dalit women are raped and individuals are murdered due to their caste in various parts of India. Despite this, whenever the question of casteism is raised, Dalits have to face counter questions about ‘Why should reservations be continued?’” Mevani was speaking during a session on “Casteism and Corruption”.

Mevani said there were more than 80 crore people who live on just Rs 20 a day. “Casteism and corruption alone is responsible for this,” he said, adding that working class people were the most affected by corruption. “Farmers do not get loan waivers, but corporates do. I look at this as a big scam.”

Mevani said that the “phenomenon of caste has distorted every facet and dimension” of life in India to the extent that every day, three to four Dalit women are raped and five Dalits are killed. Crimes against a Dalit are committed every 18 minutes, he claimed.

Prashant Bhushan on the judiciary

At the same event, advocate Prashant Bhushan spoke on the disquiet in the judiciary. He said there was an imminent need for judicial reforms, but neither the government nor the judiciary showed any interest in implementing the reforms.

“The government doesn’t want reforms in judiciary because they want a collapsed, non-functional judiciary, as it is one institution which, if works fine, can hold the Executive to account,” said Bhushan. He also spoke about “an environment of disquiet and anger” among lawyers and judges in the Supreme Court over the way Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi has dealt with the appointment of judges through the collegium.