14 March 2018
AS protests over self-immolation by Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar seeking land for Dalits spread to several parts of Gujarat, including Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad, Unjha and Patan in Mehsana district and Saurashtra Sunday, the government made frantic attempts to calm down the tension aggravated by the detention of Dalit leaders including Independent MLA from Vadgam, Jignesh Mevani. Police detained him and several of his supporters from Kalupur in Ahmedabad around 10 am on 18th February, while they were on their way to stage demonstrations at Sarangpur. At Sami town in Patan, a Dalit woman suffered burn injuries during protests, creating a flutter in the district administration.

Two companies of anti-riot Rapid Action Force (RAF) and three companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) were deployed in the city in view of the growing protests and bandh called by Mevani. His detention evoked strong reactions from protesters. Vankar’s wife, Indu, refused to accept her husband’s body till Mevani was released by the police. By 8 pm, Mevani was released by the police as hundreds of Dalit protesters gathered outside the Gandhinagar Civil Hospital where Vankar’s body is kept in a mortuary following the post-mortem examination. Com D.K. Rathod, secretary of CPI(ML) Red Star organizing committee and other comrades arrested from Gandhi Nagar and other parts of the state were also released. Meanwhile the movement for land will be continued.

Since the authorities gave written assurance that the land to the dalit families in the district shall be distributed soon, the family and friends agreed to bury the body of Bhanu. But the resentment is growing and it will burst out again very soon.
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The Communist movement in India has a history of almost a century after the salvos of October Revolution in Russia brought Marxism-Leninism to the people of India who were engaged in the national liberation struggle against the British colonialists. It is a complex and chequered history.