A court in Ahmedabad, Gujarat has acquitted Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani and 30 others in a 2017 case related to obstructing a train and unlawful assembly. Mevani, along with residents of Saroda village, had staged a protest demanding possession of land parcels allotted to Dalits but occupied by upper-caste people.
The protesters were booked under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Railways Act. However, after examining around 70 prosecution witnesses, the court found no evidence against them and acquitted all 31 accused. This is the third time in recent months that Mevani has been acquitted in cases related to protests.
Mevani’s acquittal has been welcomed by his supporters, who see it as a vindication of his activism. However, the prosecution is likely to appeal the decision.
The case highlights the ongoing struggle for Dalit rights in India. Dalits, formerly known as untouchables, are the lowest caste in the Hindu social hierarchy and face widespread discrimination. Mevani is a prominent Dalit leader who has been using his platform to advocate for social justice.
The acquittal is also a blow to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ruling party in Gujarat. The BJP has been accused of trying to silence Mevani and other Dalit activists.
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