Mevani Released On Bail By One Assam Court But Whisked Away Again By Another Set Of Northeast Cops

| Updated: April 25, 2022 7:38 pm

Arrested Thursday last in a veritable midnight knock from a Gujarat Government Circuit House and remanded to police custody for three days at Kokrajhar, the autonomous Bodoland Region in Assam on the Bhutan border, firebrand Gujarat Dalit MLA Jignesh Mevani was on Tuesday re-arrested in another more frivolous case.   

Mevani, an Independent MLA from Vadgam constituency who subsequently joined the Congress, was picked up over his tweets where he called Prime Minister a bhakt of Nathuram Godse and in the same breath urged him that when he visits Gujarat on April 20 to appeal the people for peace after three incidents communal conflagration in Gujarat.  

The local Assam court remanded him to police custody for three days until Monday and one day in judicial custody. On Tuesday, minutes after he was granted bail a team of Assam’s Barpeta police was there to arrest him. He was re-arrested.

When Mevani was first taken away on Thursday, he had called his arrest “vendetta politics by the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office)”.

“It is a conspiracy by the BJP and the RSS. They did this to tarnish my image. They have been doing this systematically. They did it to Rohit Vemula, they did it to Chandrasekhar Azad, now they are targeting me,” Mevani had told reporters.

And what did the tweets mean to the police. The 41-year-old has been charged with criminal conspiracy, offence related to place of worship, outraging religious feelings, and provocation that might lead to breach of peace.

In his complaint, BJP leader Arup Kumar Dey has alleged that Mevani’s tweets are “likely to incite a section of the masses belonging to a certain community”. It is another matter that not a single such incident occurred after his first tweet appeared on April 18.

“The Barpeta police rearrested him following the bail order,” said Angshuman Bora, Mevani’s counsel, adding that the sections he was booked under (294, 354, 353 and 323 of the Indian Penal Code) suggested that Mevani had “misbehaved/assaulted” police officials while in custody.

Among others, these sections are related to “assault or use of criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty” (Section 353) and “assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty” (Section 354).

“This is a completely false and fabricated case,” said Bora, adding that Mevani would be produced in the Barpeta Chief Judicial Magistrate court on Tuesday. “We will now move for bail there,” he said.

The Congress has alleged that the arrest -within 24 hours of the complaint — was made with an eye to the coming assembly elections in Gujarat, a state the BJP has been ruling since 1995.

“Modi ji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery. But you can never imprison the truth,” Congress’s Rahul Gandhi tweeted.

Even as the Chief Judicial Magistrate court in the Kokrajhar district Monday granted bail to Jignesh Mevani, arrested last week in connection with an allegedly defamatory tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the Assam Police rearrested the Gujarat MLA in a fresh case registered in the neighbouring district of Barpeta.

Multiple calls made to the Barpeta district police officials, including superintendent of police Amitabh Sinha, went unanswered. Neither the Assam DGP nor the Special DGP (Law and Order) responded to calls.

Bora added Barpeta police officials arrived with a warrant, but did not divulge further details. “We do not know the context of his rearrest yet, we just know the sections because it was mentioned in the warrant,” he said.

The case has been registered in the Barpeta Road police station and its officer-in-charge said that he could not comment on the issue.

During Sunday’s hearing, the Assam Police had sought 10 days’ custody, a senior police official said. Bora had argued that there was no “prima facie evidence for the charges” against the MLA.

Meanwhile, an avalanche of protests has sparked off across various places in Gujarat with large Dalit population. The opposition Congress hit the streets and held demonstrations at all the 33 district headquarters in the State.

This is besides a huge protest organised by battery of Dalit organisations, including Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch run by Mevani, some Muslim women, and concerned citizens. Over 500 of them took a protest march to the Ahmedabad District Collectorate and handed over a memorandum to the District Collector.

Also Read: Prashant Kishor Key To Congress’ Gujarat Plans But With Naresh and Hardik As Vital Players

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