Assam court rejects Jignesh Mevani’s bail plea, sends Gujarat MLA to three-day police custody
Mevani was arrested in Gujarat and brought to Assam after a case against him was registered under various sections of the IPC and IT Act for his alleged controversial tweet against PM Modi
GUWAHATI/AHMEDABAD: The court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate, Kokrajhar in Assam on Thursday rejected the bail petition of arrested Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and sent him to three day’s police custody.
The police had sought 14 days’ custody. The court directed that the MLA cannot be taken anywhere outside Kokrajhar during the period of police custody.
The Congress had sent a team of lawyers to the western Assam town to secure bail for him.
Mevani, a leading Dalit activist, was arrested by Kokrajhar police from Palanpur in Gujarat’s Banaskantha district on Wednesday midnight and brought to Assam on Thursday after a case against him was registered under various sections of the IPC and IT Act for his alleged controversial tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Arup Kumar Dey, a BJP Executive Member in Assam’s autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council, had lodged an FIR on April 19 against Mevani in connection with the tweet.
Following his arrest, the Vadgam MLA had told reporters in Gujarat he was not given a copy of the FIR although he was told the arrest pertained to his tweet.
“I had appealed for peace. I said in a tweet that peace should be maintained given the atmosphere in the country where efforts are being made to break communal unity,” he said.
“I am surprised that an FIR has been lodged against me for a call on the maintenance of peace. This shows the real picture of the government but I am not afraid,” he further said.
In the FIR, Dey had written Mevani mentioned in the tweet “the Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi worships and considers ‘Godse’ as God and appealed that the PM on his visit on 20th April to Gujarat should make an appeal to the public for peace and harmony in areas…in Gujarat where communal violence had taken place.”
He alleged the circulation of the tweet had caused widespread criticism and it had the propensity to disturb public tranquility, prejudicial to maintenance of harmony among a certain section of people.
“It is more likely to incite a section of the masses belonging to a certain community to commit any offence against other community and as such, has the tendency to destroy the social fabric of different communities residing in this part of the country,” Dey had written.
Mevani’s arrest, meanwhile, ruffled the feathers of the Congress and some other parties.
“Modiji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery. But you can never imprison the truth,” Congress leader Rahul Gandhi tweeted.
Party leader Randeep Singh Surjewala slammed the BJP for the arrest.
“The dictator is now running scared. The self-anointed Shahenshah of the country is deeply prejudiced and also running helter-skelter. The arrest of our friend-colleague Jignesh Mevani…just for a single tweet asking the PM to appeal for communal amity and brotherhood in Gujarat reflects the deep-rooted prejudice and fear among those sitting in the citadel of power in Delhi today,” Surjewala told reporters.
He continued: “Do the PM and the BJP think they can browbeat Jignesh Mevani and every voice of this country irrespective of political affiliations? Do they think they can trample upon the Constitution and murder the rule of law in broad daylight?”
Assam activist-turned-politician Akhil Gogoi also criticised Assam’s BJP-led government on Mevani’s arrest while the minority-based party All India United Democratic Front committed legal help to the MLA.
The only reaction from the BJP came from Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma but he expressed ignorance on the arrest, stating that the police had not briefed him about it.