There was no Jignesh in Vemula: Sibal defends Mevani

New Delhi [India]: Congress leader Kapil Sibal on Wednesday defended Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch convenor Jignesh Mevani, who has been accused of making “provocative” speech at an event in Pune, Maharashtra on December 31.

“Just look at history of the party [the Bharatiya Janata Party] in last 3.5 years, you’ll know the facts. There was no Jignesh in Una. No Jignesh was there in Rohith Vemula [case],” Sibal told ANI, citing cases of alleged mistreatment to the Dalits in the recent past.

Earlier yesterday, the Maharashtra Police said they had received a complaint against the Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist for his hate speech. Mevani had attended an event organised to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the battle of Bhima-Koregaon on December 31.

Tension gripped many parts of Maharashtra after a youth’s death on January during an event to mark the bicentenary celebrations of the battle near Pune.

In the aftermath, a day-long ‘Maharashtra bandh’ was called by various Dalit and other organisations on Wednesday.

The bandh was, however, called off later in the day.

The Battle of Koregaon was fought on January 1, 1818 between the British East India Company and the Peshwa faction of the Maratha Confederacy, at Koregaon Bhima. The Marathas ultimately withdrew, fearing the arrival of a larger British force.

The Company troops of Indian origin included predominantly Mahar Dalit soldiers belonging to the Bombay Native Infantry, and therefore the dalit activists regard the battle as a heroic episode in their history. (ANI)