Jignesh Mevani defies Prohibitory Orders, meets family of slain Dalit youth in Khairthal

Written by Sabrangindia | Published on: May 14, 2018
Section 144 was imposed in Kishangarh Bas (Alwar district) and Neem Ka Thana (Sikar district) in Rajasthan on Sunday, purportedly to prevent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani from moving freely and meeting the family of Pawan Kumar Jatav, a Dalit man who was killed in Police firing last month. However, Jignesh Mevani openly defied these orders and not only met with aggrieved Dalit families, but also garlanded a statue of Dr. B.R Ambedkar in the town square in full public view.

The April 2 shootout
On April 2, police allegedly opened fire on Dalit protesters who were holding an  agitation against the dilution of the SC/ST Act. The protest turned violent when protesters allegedly started vandalising Khairthal police station. Khairthal is a town and municipality in Kishangarh Bas Tahsil of Alwar district. 27 year old Pawan Kumar Jatav was a part of the group of agitating Dalits. He was killed in the firing and his friends and family blame the local Station House Officer (SHO). Jatav’s family had initially refused to take his body and only relented after they were promised a compensation of Rs 5 lakh and a job for his widow by the district administration. His father had also alleged police harassment after Pawan’s death.

Mevani welcomed with Sec 144
Mevani arrived with a fact finding team comprising Nikhil Dey, Kailash Meena, Rashid Hussein, Navin Narayan, Sanjay Madhav, Gaurav, Kamal Tank, Rahul, Anwar Haque, Dharmendra and others to ascertain whether the police acted with impunity and brutality to crush a Dalit uprising. Early on Sunday morning Jagdish Prasad Gaud, the Sub Divisional Magistrate, Neem Ka Thana issued a circular ordering the imposition of Section 144 categorically stating that Jignesh Mevani’s presence in the state could prove to be problematic and lead to a law and order problem.

The circular says, “It has been learnt from special sources that MLA Jignesh Mevani and PUCL’s Kavita Shrivastav are planning to hold a meeting of people belonging to various SC and ST communities. Bearing this in mind along with the previous violence in the region on April 2, we fear a law and order problem.”

It goes on to impose Sec 144 that prevents assembly of people in groups from 6am to mid-night on Sunday May 13. The entire circular may be viewed here:

  

Mevani meets Dalit Families
However, this did not stop Mevani from either meeting Dalit families or finding out more about instances of police brutality. A widow Kailash Devi narrated how the police physically assaulted her. “They beat me with lathis. They were not female police personnel. All were men. One of them put a gun to my jaw and a boot to my chest and only let me go when I begged for my children’s life,” she told Mevani.  

  

Speaking to media persons, Mevani accused the police of lodging false cases against Dalits and incarcerating them. He also accused the state government of suppressing the Dalit community. "There were no extraordinary circumstances to warrant police firing. But their attitude is such that they view Dalit lives as less valuable and therefore expendable," said Mevani. 
Mevani also garlanded a statue of Dr B.R Ambedkar in full public view in defiance of the prohibitory orders. Here are a few pictures from Mevani’s visit.



Interestingly, on his last visit to the state Mevani had been turned away from the airport itself. This shows how the newly minted independent MLA is already a thorn in the side of the powerful ruling disposition.