Gandhinagar, July 11 (IANS) Firebrand Dalit leader and first-time Independent legislator Jignesh Mevani, who finds himself battling for his voice to be heard in the Gujarat Assembly, on Thursday alleged that the ruling BJP, with its brute strength, was bulldozing all his efforts to speak.
Having failed to raise the issue of recent murders of Dalits in Gujarat in the house, an upset Mevani told IANS: “The ruling BJP and the Speaker appointed by it are just not letting me speak.”
“It is my right and my duty as a legislator representing the people of my constituency to speak on their issues. But the Speaker (Rajendra Trivedi) has turned down my right to speak.
“It has been three years since the shameful act of Una where Dalit youth were flogged on pretext of cow slaughter. I wanted to tell the House about its status.
Moreover, I wanted to speak on various several other instances of caste discrimination and hate crime committed in the state. But the Speaker won’t let me,” hee alleged.
Asserting that this was deliberate on the part of the ruling BJP, Mevani pointed out that even the Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani urged the Speaker to let him speak in lieu of the Congress’ time in the House. “The Speaker rejected this too,” the Dalit MLA from Vadgam constituency in North Gujarat said.
Mevani also served a notice under Rule 116 of the Assembly Rules to raise the issue of murder of a Dalit youth, who had married a girl of a higher caste against the wishes of her parents, in the Mandal tehsil of Ahmedabad district. The Dalit youth, Haresh Solanki, was accompanied by a team of Gujarat Government’s Abhyam Women Helpline, when he was attacked and killed on Monday evening.
“Most shocking is that my (Rule) 116 notice to discuss the tragic incident of the Dalit youth, who was murdered a couple of days ago in Varmor village for marrying an upper caste girl, in the House. But even that request was turned down,” Mevani rued.
Under Rule 116 any current issue of public importance can be raised by any legislator for discussion.