Mausmriti or Constitution, asks Jignesh

Gujarat MLA Jignesh Kumar Mevani and others are asking Prime Minister Narendra Modi to “choose between the Manusmriti and the Constitution”.
Against the backdrop of the Dalit protests in Maharashtra after attacks on an event to commemorate the bicentenary of a British-era battle, activists in the capital have sought permission for a youth meeting near Parliament next Tuesday. If permission is granted to the meeting, Mevani is expected to be among the speakers.
“After the rally, we will go with the Manusmriti in one hand and the Constitution in the other to the Prime Minister’s Office and ask him which one he chooses,” Mevani said in the capital on Friday.
Mevani, who has been booked by Pune police on the charge of causing enmity between groups, said: “I am being targeted by the BJP and the Sangh as they have been shaken after being reduced to 99 seats in the Gujarat Assembly. They are trying to tarnish my image. No part of my speech was inflammatory nor did I visit Bhima-Koregaon or participate in the bandh in Maharashtra. If this is the treatment given to an established and elected Dalit leader, imagine the state of the poor Dalits in the country. How can they feel safe?”
Mevani said he had addressed an Ambedkarite meeting called Elgar Parishad in Pune city, 30km away from Koregaon, on December 31 to mark the bicentenary of the battle.
Former Supreme Court judge P.B. Sawant had presided over the event.
Mevani and Khalid later said they had reached Mumbai on January 2. On January 1, Mevani stayed in Pune, nursing a sore throat and a migraine, while Khalid visited the Mahatma Phule Museum and paid respects to social reformer Savitribai Phule whose 87th birth anniversary was on January 3.
Neither of them made any other public appearance in the state or went to a students’ meeting, scheduled in Mumbai on Thursday, that was aborted by the police, they said.
Khalid said in a statement: “In my speech at Elgar Parishad on 31st December 2017, I had said that the year 2018 is going to be a very challenging one. The last three-and-a-half years of the Modi sarkar has exposed the BJP’s jumlas of Achche Din and Vikas as hollow, bitter and brutal lies… A section of the media ran a vicious trial where they tried to implicate me and Jignesh as the culprits who had ‘incited violence’. The ridiculousness of this shrill campaign is apparent from the fact that there are videos of the attack where those brandishing saffron flags can be seen attacking Dalits. Their exclusive focus on the two of us is just an effort to divert our attention away from the real culprits – the likes of Sambhaji Bhide and Milind Ekbote.”
He added: “And mind you, these are no fringe elements. Bhide is admired by no one less than PM Modi himself who claims to be inspired by him and described him in January 2014 as a ‘Mahapurush’ and ‘Tapasvi’… They scanned both our speeches hard, only to be left lurching in vain (both of our speeches are in the public domain, and you can access them too). Finally, they played a small excerpt from Jignesh’s speech where he had said that we need ‘sadkon ki ladai’ to end caste and class oppression.”

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