When the Prime Minister visited Ahmedabad this month, on September 17th for his birthday, the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation proudly announced that it will gift Modi with a “clean city.”
But the ground reality was very different. With many municipal workers participating in the strike call by the Dalit organizations after the July 9th Una incident, the AMC has had endless trouble as most of the municipal workers it employs are Dalits ,working on contract basis, for meagre wages(like everywhere else). For the last 2-3 months the Ahmedabad corporation has been flooded by garbage-related calls and complaints. The unsaid truth is that the capital city and its outskirts is overflowing with garbage and the stench has become unbearable.
The Gujarat Dalits organized a unique campaign earlier this month ,wherein they sent 1100 post cards to Amitabh Bacchan, the brand ambassador for Gujarat tourism in which they invited him to come to Gujarat – Their message: ‘Kuch din to guzaariye Gujarat mein’ to experience ‘badboo Gujarat ki.’
The AMC also resorted to police protection for the job after nearly 650 workers under Gujarat Mazdoor Sabha (GMS) went on strike on August 22, demanding permanent jobs. The strike had seen a major conflict when garbage was dumped outside the homes of senior BJP leaders. About 35 were arrested and a FIR was lodged. “Now, the work is done under police protection,” Municipal Commissioner Mukesh Kumar said.
As part of the ongoing demands the municipal workers of AMC participated in a protest on September 26th, Monday. Some have remained contract workers even after putting in 50 years of service. The police were called and the workers were ruthlessly beaten up, including a pregnant municipal worker who is now admitted in Ahmedabad civil hospital.
Today, i.e September 27th, when more than 500 Dalits protested in front of the AMC, led by Jignesh Mevani, the police again detained all of them including many women, prompting many people to say that there is no room for any kind of protest,however reasonable and peaceful in Gujarat.
All this is definitely “untouchable” by the mainstream television for reportage.