The Detection of Crime Branch, Ahmedabad, picked up Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani under preventive detention from Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport on Friday night, an hour before Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived there. However, Deputy Commissioner of Police, DCB, Deepan Bhadran did not reveal why the Dalit leader was taken into custody. He said, “He was detained following a specific input. He is being questioned and will be released soon.”
Mevani’s cousin Viral, who had gone to the airport to receive him, told The Indian Express that policemen in plainclothes directed Mevani to sit in their car. “When I asked them to let me talk to Jignesh, they told me that it was a police matter and I should not interfere,” said Viral.
Members of Rastriya Dalit Adhikar Manch said that Mevani’s detention is probably a preventive measure. His aide and member of the manch Subodh Parmar told Hindustan Times, “Mevani was coming from Delhi after addressing a public meeting at Jantar Mantar. Fearing that he might create some problem at felicitation event organised for Modi near airport, he was detained.” At the Jantar Mantar event, Mevani announced a rail roko programme from October 1.
Apart from Mevani, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Reshma Patel was also detained while scores of other activists were put under house arrest. According to The Indian Express, around 400 members of the Hardik Patel-led PAAS were detained after they threatened to stage a demonstration.
The detention will continue for two days, as Modi tours Gujarat to mark his 67th birthday, reported Ahmedabad Mirror. Joint Commissioner of Police (city crime branch) JK Bhatt, however, could not give the names of the people detained so far. He said, "I am not aware of names and number of people detained."