We are not love jihad people: Jignesh Mevani says in Delhi rally

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Dalit leader and newly elected Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani today took on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at a rally near Jantar Mantar in New Delhi saying BJP government poses a "threat" to the country's democracy and Constitution and termed the refusal to grant permission to his rally an example of the "Gujarat model" of politics.

"The way corruption, poverty, unemployment and the real issues are being swept under the carpet and ghar wapasi, love jihad and cows are being given space, is deplorable".

The Delhi Police, however, had denied permission for Mevani's rally for which he accused the government of not allowing the youth to speak for their rights.

Addressing the rally former JNU students union leader Kanhaiya Kumar also said that they believe in politics of love and unity, not hate and division. I believe in the politics of love, not love jihad.

Azad, 30, was arrested in June a year ago from Himachal Pradesh as the main accused in the Thakur-Dalit clashes in Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur district. You attack me as much as you want, I will stick to the Constitution.

Although authorities had maintained till the last minute that Mevani and his supporters did not have permission to hold the event, it seems the rally organisers and Delhi Police reached a compromise later.

"The way in which Hardik (Patel), Alpesh (Thakore) and Jignesh (Mevani) with the support of the youth in Gujarat brought the BJP down from over 150 seats (target set by BJP in Gujarat) to 99 seats".

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Mevani also asked Prime Minister Narendra Modi to break his silence on the violence that was carried out on Dalits in Saharanpur and later in Bhima Koregaon.

Former and current JNU student leaders, including Kanhaiya Kumar, Shehla Rashid and Umar Khalid were present on the stage, metres away from the Parliament Street Police Station. "We are not against any religion or any community, we are here for the constitution".

RTI activist Akhil Gogoi said a national programme was needed to get rid of the BJP-RSS government.

Jignesh, who has been accused of incing caste tension in Maharashtra, on Friday said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) have tried to tarnish his image due to the fear of set back in 2019 Lok Sabha election. "We fight the fight on the streets", he said.

Around 2,000 security personnel, including paramilitary forces, with water cannon vehicles were deployed in connection with the rally.

A senior officer from New Delhi district told PTI that additional forces from other districts of the city have been called in.

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