Cong MLA Jignesh Mevani held in Gujarat over tweet on PM Modi | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Cong MLA Jignesh Mevani held in Gujarat over tweet on PM Modi

ByMaulik Pathak & Utpal Parashar, Ahmedabad/guwahati
Apr 22, 2022 12:35 AM IST

Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani was arrested by Assam Police in Palanpur town of Gujarat late on Wednesday and flown to Guwahati on Thursday over an alleged “offensive” tweet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said.

Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani was arrested by Assam Police in Palanpur town of Gujarat late on Wednesday and flown to Guwahati on Thursday over an alleged “offensive” tweet on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, officials said.

Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani was arrested by Assam Police in Palanpur town of Gujarat late on Wednesday. (HT photo)
Congress MLA Jignesh Mevani was arrested by Assam Police in Palanpur town of Gujarat late on Wednesday. (HT photo)

The Vadgam MLA, who arrived in Guwahati on Thursday afternoon and was subsequently taken to Kokrajhar, 180 km west of the Assam capital, by road was probed for several hours.

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He was later produced before the court of a chief judicial magistrate who rejected his bail plea and remanded him to three days police custody, officials familiar with the matter said.

The Congress leader was arrested on the basis of a first information report (FIR) registered on a complaint by Bodoland Territorial Region executive member and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) functionary Arup Dey on April 18, they added.

The FIR, a copy of which HT has seen, said the circulation of the tweet by the legislator “caused widespread criticism and caused the propensity to disturb public tranquility, prejudicial to maintain the harmony among a certain section of people”.

The tweet is likely to “incite a section of the masses belonging to a certain community to commit any offence against another community and as such has the tendency to destroy the social fabric of different communities residing in this part of the country…,” the FIR added.

The post, however, is no longer available on Mevani’s feed with a message displaying that “this tweet from @jigneshmevani80 has been withheld in India in response to a legal demand”.

“The police had sought 14 days custody of Mevani, but the CJM court granted only three days along with the condition that the MLA won’t be shifted anywhere outside Kokrajhar during the remand period. We would not like to comment on the court’s decision at this stage and will file an appeal in Gauhati high court for his bail,” Manoj Bhagawati, Mevani’s counsel and member of Congress’s legal cell, said.

The FIR was registered under sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), 295A (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class), 153A (promoting enmity between two communities), 504 (intentional insult to provoke breach of the peace), criminal intimidation (506) of Indian Penal Code and under Information Technology Act.

Both Assam Police and Dey did not respond to HT’s call and messages for a comment.

The Congress described Mevani’s arrest as “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional”. Former party chief Rahul Gandhi said Prime Minister Modi cannot imprison the truth by trying to “crush” dissent.

“Modi ji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery. But you can never imprison the truth,” Gandhi tweeted while sharing a news report on Mevani’s arrest, with the hashtag “#DaroMat” and “#SatyamevaJayate”.

Mevani had extended “full support” to Congress last year and plans to contest on the party’s symbol the assembly elections due in Gujarat later this year.-

The party in Assam assured all help to secure Mevani’s release. “This is an attempt by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to try and silence Congress ahead of Gujarat assembly elections. We are not afraid of such threats. We are with Mevani and urge the state police not to become tools in the hands of the politicians,” Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said.

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, however, claimed he was not aware of Mevani’s arrest. “I am not aware of this development. I have not been briefed by police on who has been picked, why he has been picked up or if at all he has been picked up,” Sarma, who handles the home portfolio, said in Guwahati.

Congress’s Gujarat unit chief Jagdish Thakor, who met Mevani at Ahmedabad airport before he was being taken to Guwahati around 4 am on Thursday, said the legislator was arrested from Palanpur Circuit House around 11.30 pm on Wednesday.

An aide of Mevani said the manner in which the MLA was arrested was a violation of his fundamental rights. “Let alone him not getting time to change his clothes, he was not allowed to speak to anyone, including his lawyers. A legislator being arrested in the middle of the night in this manner points to tyranny of the state,” his aide Subodh Parmar said.

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