//Gujarati Dalit activist summoned in 10-yr old case

Gujarati Dalit activist summoned in 10-yr old case

Mahesh Langa

Ahmedabad, August 21: A VERAVAL trial court has summoned well known Dalit activist Valjibhai Patel to take chargesheet filed against him in more than a decade old case.

According to the case details, in 1994, a police complaint was lodged against Valjibhai and two others for translating, publishing and distributing a booklet called “Riddles of Ram and Krishna” during the inaugural function of a Dr B R Ambedakar statue in Veraval. The booklet was taken from “Riddles in Hinduism” the volume eight of collected works of Ambedakar published by the Maharashtra government in 1987. In volume eight, chapter 33 was “Riddles of Ram and Krishna” wherein both heroes of Hinduism were shown in poor light and derogatory language was used in description.

Ironically, the Gujarat government itself had published the collected works of Dr Ambedkar, including the “Riddles of Hinduism” in 1997, during the RJP-Congress government in the state.

However, in 1999 the BJP government sanctioned the prosecution of Valjibhai for translating, publishing and distributing the very book the previous government had published. Valjibhai Patel had translated the chapter in Gujarati and thousands of copies were distributed in the state. But in 1994, the booklet provoked uppercaste Hindus who launched an agitation against the booklet. Several saints and priests also joined the agitation along with local political leaders from BJP and Congress.

Bajarangdas, a priest, registered a complaint against Valjibhai, who had translated the book, Muljibhai Solanki, a local leader of Republican Party who had distributed the booklet and Mansukhbhai Raja, in whose press the book was printed. The case was registered under IPC 153-A, 295, 501, 502 and 114. However, under CrPC provision 196, a sanction from the state government was required to prosecute anyone under IPC 153-A and it was granted in 1999.

In August 2006, the trial court in Veraval issued a summon to Valjibhai. It may be noted that the other two persons named in the complaint have already died.