Independent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani on Monday claimed that the cases against him are a conspiracy by the “worshippers of Nathuram Godse in prime minister’s office” to destroy him ahead of the state elections.
The MLA was arrested twice in Bharatiya Janata Party-ruled Assam between April 20 and April 25. Though the Dalit leader is an Independent MLA, he supports the Congress.
In the first case, he was charged with criminal conspiracy and outraging religious feelings for tweeting against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mevani had said that the prime minister worshipped freedom fighter Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse.
In the second case, he was charged for allegedly assaulting a woman police officer and outraging her modesty. He has received bail in both cases.
Mevani claimed that his arrest showed the priorities and intentions of the Gujarat government and the prime minister. He made the comment while addressing a press conference with the Congress on Monday.
Several matters require the government’s attention urgently, he added. He cited the Centre’s inaction against entrepreneur Gautam Adani, whose port in Gujarat was embroiled in a controversy in September after the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence had seized nearly three tonnes of heroin worth Rs 21,000 crore.
“In the name of Dharam Sansad [religious congregation], a call for genocide has been made against a certain community [Muslims],” Mevani said. “Publicly ‘goli maaron...’ [shoot them] has been said, and still no investigation or FIR has been conducted. But a case has been filed against me only for a tweet of mine. What does this show?”
The details of the first information reports against him have not been made public, Mevani said. He was also reportedly not allowed to speak to his parents and lawyer.
“Even the Gujarat Vidhan Sabha Speaker was not informed, perhaps he was told after I was taken to Assam and in police custody,” he said.
Mevani also alleged that the second case against him, about the alleged assault on a woman police officer, was manufactured to keep him in custody for a long time. “No person will ever try to outrage the modesty of a woman police officer in presence of other male officers,” he said.
Mevani said that he feared that the government could have planted incriminating evidence on his computer that was seized from him before his was arrested.