Una, Aug. 15 (PTI): Gujarat's Dalits today threatened a rail blockade if the state government failed to meet within a month their demand for five acres of land for each family from the community.
Thousands had gathered in Una, where vigilantes publicly flogged four Dalit youths for skinning a dead cow last month, in an Independence Day rally that capped a weeklong march from Ahmedabad.
"You take the cow's tail, give us land," Jignesh Mewani, leader of the Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti, the march organiser, said in his speech. "If you don't accept our demand for five acres for each Dalit family in the next one month, we will launch a rail roko."
He got the gathering to pledge to stop skinning cows for a living.
The Tricolour was jointly unfurled by Radhika Vemula, mother of Dalit scholar Rohith Vemula whom alleged discrimination had driven to suicide at Hyderabad University in January, and Balu Sarvaiya, father of one of the flogging victims. Also present was JNU student leader Kanhaiya Kumar, the face of the recent spate of campus protests against the government.
Mewani chided Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his initial silence on the flogging. "The sheer scale of protests forced him to (eventually) speak out. But Modi didn't speak a word when three (Dalit) youths were killed in police firing in Thangadh town in 2012."
Muslims came in large numbers to express solidarity.
While I support the Dalits in their fight against the injustice meted out to them, one should make a demand which can be fulfilled.
Multiply 5 acres by the dalit population in India, which is 200 million, ie 20 crores.
This works out to 100 crore acres.The total area of India is 3287260 Sq. Km i.e 8123148186 acres.
Asking for 5 acres of land is just too much as if we divide the total area of India between the 20 crore dalits, each would get 8.12 acres.
I suppose they are being reasonable in asking for only 5 acres per dalit.
This means the rest of India, ie 100 crores population can share among thems selves the balance 3 12 acres.