Mumbai Police block Mevani event, organizers threaten to hold it in the open

A poster on the summit

Mumbai Police have denied permission to the Chhatra Bharati, a students’ organization in the city, to hold an event today featuring Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and JNU student Omar Khalid.

Police have started rounding up the organizers into vans and taken possession of the hall.

Organizers said they will hold the event at an alternate venue, or even on the road if necessary.

Police denied permission to the event, which also features many other young leaders such as Richa Singh of Allahabad, Bedabrata Gogoi of Assam and Pradeep Narwal of Haryana, over law and order concerns.

“We cannot be risking the lives of the people, only because two stuntmen want to come (to Mumbai),” said BJP spokesperson Shaina NC.

Shaina NC repeated the line adopted by many in her party that the violence against Dalits on Monday was orchestrated by political rivals of the BJP to affect its chances of coming back to power next year.

The BJP suspects Mevani to be part of the opposition ‘conspiracy’ to create turbulence in the state ahead of elections next year.

Shaina NC said an atmosphere of conflict has been created by “certain political interests” for political oneupmanship.

The event is scheduled to take place at Bhaidas Auditorium at Mithibai College in Mumbai.

Organizers said it is not a political event and should be allowed to go on.

“We had sought permission more than a week ago and we had booked the auditorium two months ago,” said Rohit Dhale, an organizer.

“This is a seminar is on education, not about politics… we are not affiliated to any party. Besides, these are not the only people who have been invited. We have invited representatives from many universities,” he added.

Mumbai and other places in Maharashtra have seen sporadic incidents of violence and widespread protests after members of right wing Hindu organizations attacked Dalits who were on their way to attend a function in Bhima-Koregaon village near Pune.