'Vendetta Politics by PM's Office': Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani on Arrest
Jignesh Mevani was apprehended from Palanpur Circuit House and has been taken to Kokrajhar police station in Assam.
The Quint DAILY
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Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani, who was arrested by the Assam Police from Gujarat late on Wednesday, 20 April, for two of his tweets that allegedly "pose a threat to disturb tranquility," and later flown to Assam and produced in court in Kokrajhar on Thursday, 21 April, has alleged that his arrest was "vendetta politics and this is by PMO."
The complaint against Mevani, filed by local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arup Kumar Dey at Kokrajhar Police Station, stated that the 41-year-old leader, in one of his tweets, had said, "PM Modi worships Godse" and "...that the PM on his Gujarat visit must make an appeal for harmony in light of the recent events of communal violence in the state."
Mevani, who had extended support to the Congress last year, was apprehended from the Palanpur Circuit House at around 11:30 pm and had been taken to Kokrajhar police station in Assam.
While going into the courtroom with the police, Mewani, in response to reporters' questions, said, "This is vendetta politics and this is by PMO."
According to the complaint, the tweet "has caused widespread criticism and has the propensity to disturb tranquility, prejudicial to maintenance of harmony among a certain section of people. It is more likely to incite a section of masses belonging to a certain community to commit an offence against other community".
"The tweet...is sure to promote enmity or hatred towards different communities," the complaint added.
Meanwhile, Kankan Das, Advocate and General Secretary of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee stated that a First Information Report (FIR) was registered against Mevani for his tweet and added that they are moving his bail petition, hoping that he will be out on Thursday, 21 April, itself.
According to news agency ANI, the FIR against the leader has been filed under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), section 153(A) (promoting enmity between two communities), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and various sections of the IT Act.
Further, the two tweets in question have been withheld by Twitter in response to a legal demand.
'Modi Ji, You Can Try...': Rahul Gandhi Condemns Mevani's Arrest, Congress Protests at Airport
Condemning Mevani's arrest, Rahul Gandhi tweeted, "Modi ji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery. But you can never imprison the truth."
Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala, commenting on the arrest, asked, "Is it now a crime to appeal for communal harmony in the country and appeal to the Prime Minister not to fight the two communities?"
President of the Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee Jagdish Thakor had also put out a tweet after midnight, condemning the arrest.
"Assam Police along with Gujarat Police detained Mr. Jignesh Mevani, MLA of Gujarat at 11:30 pm and took him to Assam by train on 21/04 from Ahmedabad at 4 am. To be treated like this is condemnable," he tweeted in Hindi. Later, however, Thakor said that Mevani was being taken to Guwahati via Ahmedabad airport at around 4 am.
Congress leader Kanhaiya Kumar had said that no copy of the FIR had been provided by the police regarding Mevani's arrest at night, and that his mobile phone was also taken away.
"At midnight Jignesh Mevani's companion called and told me that the Assam Police is arresting Jignesh bhai from Palanpur, Gujarat and taking him to Assam. He neither has a mobile phone, nor have we been given any FIR copy. Is this justice with the elected representative of the people?" Kumar tweeted.
Several Congress leaders led by Thakor staged a protest against Mevani's arrest at the Ahmedabad airport at around 3:30 am on Thursday.
"The BJP government is intimidating when the youth raise the voice of the people against the BJP government. But we will not be afraid to fight," Thakor said.
Congress leader KC Venugopal, actress Swara Bhasker, and others also tweeted in Mevani's support, raising concerns about the arrest.
Mevani, who is an independent MLA from Gujarat's Vadgam constituency, had extended support to the Congress on 28 September last year after conducting a press conference with Kanhaiya Kumar, who joined the party that day.
Mevani is also a prominent Dalit leader in the state and the convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch.
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