Vadgam MLA and working president of Gujarat Congress, Jignesh Mevani, has taken a significant step in the fight against oppression by launching a helpline specifically designed to assist victims of atrocities from the Dalit and other marginalized communities in Gujarat.
The helpline, called the 'Swabhiman Helpline' (9724344061), aims to extend support beyond the Dalit community, providing assistance to all individuals belonging to marginalized sections of society.
Mevani expressed his commitment to helping these individuals navigate the legal proceedings required to seek justice in cases of discrimination and oppression through a video message on social media.
According to a report in Indian Express, citing data presented by Union Home Minister Amit Shah before Parliament, Mevani highlighted that a staggering 1.89 lakh cases of atrocities against Dalits were registered in the country over the past four years.
Gujarat, too, has witnessed incidents of discrimination and oppression against various communities, including Dalits, tribals, Muslims, women, and denotified tribes.
Drawing on his own law degree, Mevani has assembled a team of professionals to provide legal assistance to those seeking help. Having been an activist for the past 20 years, Mevani gained prominence in 2016 during the widespread protests following the brutal flogging of Dalits for alleged cow slaughter. He entered politics in 2017 and successfully won the Vadgam Assembly seat as an independent candidate supported by the Congress party.
In an interview with The Mooknayak, Vinod Parmar, a team member involved with the Swabhiman Helpline, explained the operations of the helpline. He stated that their primary objective is to assist Dalits, women, Muslims, and other marginalized groups.
When an atrocity is reported, the team validates the case and, if necessary, contacts the police station. If the police refuse to register an FIR, they escalate the matter by writing an application. If no action is taken even after these steps, Jignesh Mevani personally intervenes by making a direct call to the police station.
If required, he visits the police station and meets with the concerned officials to ensure necessary action is taken.
Gujarat has a long-standing history of caste discrimination, with recent incidents further highlighting this issue. In Mehsana district, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's hometown, Dalits in a village alleged being subjected to discrimination and forced to eat separately.
Untouchability practices are pervasive in Gujarat, from separate cups in tea shops to barbers refusing to serve Dalits. The introduction of the helpline is expected to contribute to the ongoing fight against such injustices.
By establishing the Swabhiman Helpline, Jignesh Mevani and his team are providing a valuable resource to empower victims of oppression, promoting equality and justice for all marginalized communities in Gujarat.