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Politics

Assam Court Rejects Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani’s Bail Plea, Sends Him to 3-Day Police Custody

The arrest was over recent tweets after communal violence in Gujarat, in which Mevani had called Prime Minister Narendra Modi a supporter of Nathuram Godse, who assassinated M.K. Gandhi.

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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.

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.

Assam Raijor Dal MLA Akhil Gogoi who was until recently in jail under NIA charges has also tweeted condemning the arrest.

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.”

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.

Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan has also spoken out against the intimidation of those criticising the government.

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.