Firebrand dalit leader and Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani reportedly faced protests from his own community when he visited Godhra and Lunawada villages in Gujarat’s Panchmahal on Saturday.
The protesters led by a local group, Dalit Hit Rakshak Samiti, called Mevani “a leader who is dividing the society” and raised slogans such as “Mevani go back”. They held photos of Babasaheb Ambedkar stating, “The country’s leader must be like Dr Ambedkar,” according to a report by the Indian Express.
Mevani, who won the Vadgam assembly seat as an independent candidate with the support of the Congress, however, termed the reports of protest as “false news.”
“It (the protest) is false news. I have had fabulous meetings here and there has been no protest,” he told the newspaper.
Recently, Union minister Ramdas Athawale, also a dalit, had blasted Mevani, saying he was putting Dalits in "danger".
"Jignesh Mevani is a youth from our Dalit community. He has become an MLA. That is good. But, if he is a true Amedkarite, he should not take the support of people of Maoism, Naxalism, and Marxism. I feel Dalit protection would not happen by giving provocative speeches. Mevani is doing the work of putting Dalits in danger," the minister had said.
"It would not help if Mevani gives provocative speeches. He should talk about bringing the society together. He should not speak nonsense. He should speak sense," he said.
Mevani was recently booked by the Pune police for promoting enmity between two groups and instigating violence after he attended an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon.
According to a report by the Hindustan Times, in the FIR, Mevani, along with JNU student Umar Khalid, was accused of making provocative speech, in which they said, “We can make this battle of Bhima Koregaon as a future. They attacked first, the time is to retaliate.”
One person was killed in the massive violence in Maharasthra.