Assam court rejects Jignesh Mevani’s bail plea
Mevani was arrested on Wednesday night by the Assam Police for his tweets about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
A local court in Assam’s Kokrajhar city on Thursday rejected the bail application of Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and sent him to three-day police custody, The Hindu reported.
Mevani, an Independent MLA who has extended his support to the Congress party, was arrested on Wednesday night by the Assam Police for his tweets about Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
He was detained in Palanpur city at 11.30 pm and taken to Ahmedabad. From there, he was flown to Assam.
The case against him was filed based on a police complaint by Arup Kumar Dey, a resident of Bhabanipur in Assam’s Kokrajhar district. The complaint said Mevani wrote on Twitter that “Modi worships and considers [Nathuram] Godse as God”. Godse had assassinated Mahatma Gandhi in 1948.
The complainant also mentioned the MLA’s advise to Modi to appeal for peace and harmony during his April 20 visit to communal violence-hit sites in Gujarat. The two tweets were posted by Mevani on April 18 and have been withheld by Twitter on “legal demand”.
During the MLA’s bail hearing, the court said that Mevani was not to be taken anywhere outside Kokrajhar while he was in police custody, according to The New Indian Express. The police had sought custody for 14 days.
A team of lawyers was sent by the Congress to secure bail for Mevani, according to The Hindu
Mevani has been charged with India Penal Code sections about criminal conspiracy, acts committed to outrage religious feelings, insulting to provoke breach of the peace, preventing officer from discharging his duty and causing fear to the public. He was also booked under the Information Technology Act.
Assam Congress chief Bhupen Borah on Wednesday said that the Assam Police’s action smacked of a conspiracy.
“Police did not give details of the FIR based on which Mevani was arrested,” he said. “Mevani has always been vocal against the BJP and the RSS.”
Borah said that cases of murder, dacoity and other crimes were rising in the state, but that the police were more concerned about a tweet than the protection of citizens.
Gujarat Congress President Jagdish Thakor and other party leaders had also shouted slogans against the Bharatiya Janata Party government at the Ahmedabad airport to condemn Mevani’s arrest.
In a tweet, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi condemned Modi for trying to “crush dissent by abusing the state machinery.” He added, “But you can never imprison the truth.”
Congress General Secretary Randeep Surjewala asked if it is a crime to appeal for communal harmony in the country. “Do they [BJP and Modi] think they can trample on the Constitution and murder rule of law in broad daylight?” he asked.
These voices will not cower down, Surjewala said, adding that the central government only knows how to spread fear and hatred.
Some Dalit groups have also announced programmes in Ahmedabad and other parts of the state such as Mehsana to protest against Mevani’s arrest.