AHMEDABAD: Dalit activist and independent MLA from Vadgam Jignesh Mevani, accompanied by local dalit residents and police officials, exposed untouchability allegedly being practised at a village in Botad district on Friday, through a Facebook live post.
Mevani’s Facebook live post shows him saying was is in Mandavdhar village of Gadhada taluka in Botad district for a public meeting when he received complaints from local dalit youths that untouchability is still being practised in the village. He says that members of SC and ST communities complained that they are not being allowed entry into a local temple, owners of food joints do not let them dine in and local barbershops deny them service.
The videos show Mevani, accompanied by local dalit youths and a police sub-inspector going to a pau-bhaji eatery in the village, where he asks the owner if he doesn’t allow dalits to eat at the joint, to which the owner says that is correct and that other villagers do not allow him to do so. The video later shows Mevani and dalit villagers along with police officials going to a local temple, where he asks a monk whether local dalit community members’ complaints of not being allowed entry into the temple are correct. The monk is heard saying that he is just visiting the temple and has no knowledge about the practices there.
Mevani is seen requesting police officials to provide security to local dalit community members in case there is retaliation from other villagers.
“We also visited a soda shop where the owner accepted that he keeps separate glasses for dalit community members. I have had a word with Additional DG SC, ST Cell Vikas Sahay and sent him the videos,” Mevani said.
“I am aware of MLA Mevani’s visit to Mandavdhar village and have instructed local officials to take action if they receive complaints from dalit community members,” Harshad Mehta, SP, Botad told TOI.
Mevani said that he asked the locals to lodge complaints if they continue facing discrimination or if other villagers subject them to reprisals.