Jignesh Mevani takes to the Internet to raise cash for Dalit protests

jigneshJignesh Mevani, the young lawyer spearheading the protests against atrocities against Dalits, has launched a campaign to raise Rs 13 lakhs via crowdfunding platform BigGiving.

This marks the first time a socio-political movement is trying to use the Internet to generate funds after the stunning success of a similar effort by Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party two years ago.

Mevani, who works under the banner of Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (National Dalit Rights Forum), however has set his eyes for a far lower target compared to (then) anti-corruption crusader Kejriwal. While Aam Aadmi Party was able to raise up to Rs 1.3 crore per day, Mevani has a much more modest target.

The one-month campaign was launched yesterday, and has already attracted about two dozen donations totalling about Rs 45,000 — or 3% of the targeted Rs 13 lakh.

“We are no longer able to manage the expenditure incurred in organizing this struggle and parallel agitations that RDAM (Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch) is organizing,” Mevani said on the fund request page.

“Most of us are working full time and aren’t beneficiaries of any kind of funding, whatsoever. To keep the movement going for the coming year, we’ll need funds for sustaining those working full time, materials required for each agitation which involves printing campaign material, banners etc and other miscellaneous expenses.”

The campaign has also given a breakdown of how it is going to utilize the funds. Payment is accepted via debit cards, credit cards, net banking and Paytm wallet.

Mevani shot into prominence after emerging as one of the faces of the recent protests by Dalits against violence by right-wing vigilantes. One video in particular, in which some Dalit youth were tied to a car and beaten mercilessly for skinning a cow, led to widespread protests in the state of Gujarat.

Right wing vigilante violence, and the protests against it, became so widespread that Prime Minister Narendra Modi had to step in and bluntly term vigilantes — who were carrying out the attacks in the name of their religion — anti-social.

Urging state government to prepare “dossiers” on these “cow protectors” and keep them under control, Modi said: “It will be found that 70 to 80% are people who commit the kind of bad deeds which society does not accept. To hide their bad activities, they don the mantle of cow protectors,”

The stern message, followed by some tough action by state police, had an immediate effect, and violence in the name of the holy cow came down.

FROM COW TO LAND

Having met with some success in the anti-vigilante campaign, Mevani indicated that his organization is now looking at broadening the pro-Dalit movement to other issues.

“As the Convener of Una Dalit Atyachar Ladat Samiti and Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch, I, Jignesh Mevani, would like to extend this appeal to all of you. On October 1, thousands of us will be taking part in Rail Roko agitation to demand for our rightful right to land which has been stalled by the Gujarat Government for years and I appeal to all of you Bhim Sainiks to join us,” he said.

“Thousands of acres of land of Dalits is in illegal possession in Gujarat and their livelihood remains stalled as a reason,” he added. “Spending all their lives going from pillar to post demanding what is theirs; generations have spent all their energy in this struggle for land.”



Hindu fighting for Muslim rights alleges religious discrimination by orthodox Muslims Sreeja NeyyattinkaraSreeja Neyyattinkara, one of the state secretaries of Welfare Party in Kerala, has set off a storm among Dalit and Minority activist circles in Kerala by heavily criticizing some orthodox practices among the Muslims of the state.The criticism has come as a surprise as the Welfare Party is largely comprised of Muslim supporters an...
Bhim Singh says cancel J&K Article 370, willing to go to UN J&K NPP leader Bhim Singh called for abrogation of Article 370 in Jammu & Kashmir, which he blamed for creating the present condition in the hill state, and said he's willing to go to the United Nations to fully integrate the state in India.He said Article 370, which gives special status to Jammu & Kashmir, was at the root of most of the problems...
Kashmir violence: Katju mocks ‘selective outrage’ of Liberals Justice Markandeya Katju (source: Katju's FB page)Former Supreme Court Chief Justice Markandeya Katju mocked liberals and called the current commiserations for Kashmiri Pandits meaningless, given that nobody 'raised a finger' when the community was forced to leave the Kashmir valley in the 90s."Your condemning atrocities on Kashmiri Pandits now is u...
Kerala sets up welfare commission for rich and powerful communities In a reversal of sorts, the Kerala government has set up a welfare commission that will only help people who belong to economically forward classes.The setting up of the 'forward class welfare commission' has been approved by the state's governor, and will shortly become law as it is published in the state gazette.This is perhaps the first instan...
Firing reported at protesters AT UP’s Kanhar Dam Police firing has been reported against anti-land-acquisition protesters at Kanhar dam in Uttar Pradesh's Sonebhadra district early morning on Ambedkar Jayanti."One tribal leader Akku kharwar from Sundari village have been hit by bullet in chest, Around 8 people have been grievously injured in the firing and lathi charge by the police," said a statement ...
Land of Mayawati leads in cases of discrimination against scheduled caste, OBC students Uttar Pradesh sees the highest number of complaints of discrimination against students belonging to the scheduled castes and other backward classes, according to government data.Uttar Pradesh, which accounts for about 17% of India's total population, accounted for 57% of the total complaints regarding discrimination against students belonging to schedule...