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New Delhi: The court of the chief judicial magistrate, Kokrajhar in Assam on Thursday, April 21 rejected the bail petition of arrested Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani and sent him to three-day police custody, the New Indian Express reported.
Mevani was arrested by the Assam Police at 11:30 pm on Wednesday (April 20), from the Circuit House in Palanpur, Gujarat.
According to Deccan Herald, the arrest was over recent tweets in which Mevani had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a supporter of Nathuram Godse, who assassinated M.K. Gandhi. Modi, who “considers Godse as God,” should appeal for peace and harmony against communal clashes in Gujarat, Mevani had said.
According to Mevani’s aides who were present during the arrest, the policemen who picked up Mevani were not carrying a copy of the FIR and were unwilling to disclose what the chargers against the political leader were. The newspaper said the reasons behind the arrest were revealed only when a group of Congress supporters created a ruckus at Ahmedabad airport.
Vadgam MLA Jignesh Mevani arrested by Assam police from Palanpur circuit House. Police yet to share the copy of the FIR with us, we have been informed about some case filed against him in Assam and is likely to be deported to Assam tonight.
-Team Jignesh Mevani pic.twitter.com/Bn0cbX1a9I
— Kanhaiya Kumar (@kanhaiyakumar) April 20, 2022
The document the police showed them suggests that a case was filed against Mevani on the basis of a complaint by Anup Kumar Dey, a BJP executive member in Assam’s autonomous Bodoland Territorial Council, under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 153(A) (promoting enmity between two communities), 295(A) (injuring or defiling place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code and various sections of the IT Act.
Dey’s complaint reportedly says he had come across Mevani’s tweet saying that the “prime minister of India Narendra Modi worships and considers ‘Godse’ as God and appealed the PM on his visit on April 20 to Gujarat should make an appeal to the public for the peace and harmony in areas such as Himmatnagar, Khambhat and Veraval where communal violence had taken place.”
The complainant went on to allege that the tweet “caused widespread criticism and has the propensity to disturb public tranquility, prejudicial to maintenance of harmony among a certain section of people. It is more likely to incite a section of the masses belonging to a certain community to commit any offence against the other community in this part of the country.”
Two of Mevani’s tweets currently cannot be seen in India, with a message from Twitter saying they are being withheld in India based on a “legal demand”.
Mevani, elected as an independent MLA, had extended his support to the Congress party in September 2019.
Supporters of Mevani have announced that they will protest in Delhi today against his arrest. Kavita Krishnan of the CPI(ML) also extended her support to Mevani on Twitter, reiterating the message of the tweet for which he was arrested.
In solidarity with #JigneshMevaniArrested –
PM Modi whose god is Godse, claims to worship Gandhi. To keep up that pretence he should at least appeal to his ideological brethren to stop using Hindu festivals as pretexts to foment anti Muslim violence. pic.twitter.com/8ovLPohPQn
— Kavita Krishnan (@kavita_krishnan) April 21, 2022
Assam Raijor Dal MLA Akhil Gogoi who was until recently in jail under NIA charges has also tweeted condemning the arrest.
The arrest of Vadgam MLA, Dalit leader and friend @jigneshmevani80 brings to the fore the sheer height of political vengeance. Another instance to crush the Opposition?@RaijorDal condemns such politics and the arrest of @jigneshmevani80 .
— Akhil Gogoi (@AkhilGogoiAG) April 21, 2022
Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, party MP from Assam Gaurav Gogoi, and MLA Debabrata Saikia have tweeted against the arrest. Gandhi addressed Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his tweet, saying, “You can never imprison the truth.”
Modi ji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery.
— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) April 21, 2022
Gogoi referred ostensibly to an earlier claim he had made – that BJP Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel had once told him that there is nothing wrong in worshipping Godse.
I condemn the manner in which Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has converted the Assam police into a political arm of the BJP. The arrest of Jignesh Mevani is disgraceful. I remember a BJP Union Minister admitting in Parliament that there is nothing wrong in worshipping Godse.
— Gaurav Gogoi (@GauravGogoiAsm) April 21, 2022
Arresting MLA @jigneshmevani80,a dalit leader from Gujarat,only for a tweet is unconstitutional & I condemn such discriminatory activity. Meanwhile, Assam has been continuously ranked on top for crimes against women for several years. @assampolice check your priorities. pic.twitter.com/EiyXoEyULt
— Debabrata Saikia (@DsaikiaOfficial) April 21, 2022
Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan has also spoken out against the intimidation of those criticising the government.
The arrest of Dalit leader @jigneshmevani80 by Assam Police looks politically motivated. The fascist Govt is leaving no stone unturned to intimidate the voices of the opposition. RSS & Modi are not immune to criticism and arrest for criticising them is a blatant violation of law.
— Ajit Kumar Bhuyan (@AjitKrBhuyan) April 21, 2022
This story, which was published on April 21 at 8:40 am, is being republished on the same date at 9 pm, with an update on the Assam court rejecting Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani’s bail plea.