Days after the alleged murder of a Dalit deputy Sarpanch in Botad district of Gujarat, MLA Jignesh Mevani Monday claimed as many as 116 Dalit farmers in Kutch district are living under the "death threat", and appealed to the state government to provide them security. He also alleged that some men from upper caste communities are preventing these Dalit farmers from taking possession of the land allotted to them for farming by the state government 35 years ago. He demanded security from the government for these farmers who are residents of Rapar and Bhachau talukas of Kutch.
Referring to the alleged murder of Manjibhai Solanki recently, Mevani said that Dalits from Kutch district may get killed if they try to take possession of their own land. Solanki, 51, was allegedly beaten to death by nine persons near his village on June 19. "Though Solanki had sought police protection fearing that he would get killed, no action was taken. Now, I have learned that 116 Dalit farmers of Kutch are facing death threats. I demand adequate police protection for them. We will see whether the state government wants to protect them or let them die," Mevani said while addressing a press conference in Gandhinagar.
The Independent MLA said he had apprised state governor O P Kohli about the issue through a letter. "Though these farmers are the owners of the land as per revenue records, they could not take possession or start cultivation because some upper caste goons have captured the land. Dalits fear that they may get killed if they step on that land," said Mevani, who represents Vadgam seat in Banaskantha district in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly.