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Assam police arrest Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat over tweet on PM

Assam police arrest Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat over tweet on PM

Kokrajhar (Assam)/Ahmedabad: Gujarat legislator Jignesh Mevani, who was arrested by Assam Police from the western state for a purported tweet, was on Thursday remanded to three days police custody by a court here.

Mevani was produced before the court of the Chief Judicial Magistrate here after arrival from Ahmadabad via Guwahati in the evening.

"The police sought 14 days custody, to which we objected. After hearing both sides, the court gave three days police remand and said that during this period, he cannot be taken anywhere outside Kokrajhar," Manoj Bhagawati, advocate appearing for Mevani, said.

Bhagawati, who was deputed by Assam Congress to aide Mevani, added that a bail petition moved on Mevani's behalf was however rejected by the court.

According to the First Information Report that led to Mevani's apprehension, he had purportedly written a tweet, claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi "considered Godse as God".

He had used the same tweet to urge Modi to appeal for communal harmony during his visit to the Gujarat, the FIR at Kokrajhar Police Station said.

The Dalit leader was apprehended from Palanpur town in Gujarat on Wednesday night after a FIR under various sections of the IPC and the IT Act was filed in Kokrajhar Police Station a BJP leader Arup Kumar Dey. He was flown to Guwahati from Gujarat on Thursday morning and then taken to Korajhar by road.

Flaying the arrest, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi termed it as "undemocratic" and "unconstitutional".

Gandhi said it was an insult to the people who elected him as a public representative.

Mevani had won as an independent MLA from Vadgam (SC) seat of Banaskantha in 2017 with Congress support. Though he is "ideologically" with the Congress, he has not joined the opposition party officially. He has earlier said that he would fight the next elections as a Congress candidate.

He has been booked under section 153A of the IPC, which deals with offences related to promoting enmity between communities, was registered at Kokrajhar police station in Assam, said Mevani's aide Suresh Jat.

"As per a document shared by the officials of the Assam police, an FIR has been lodged over a tweet by Mevani few days back. However, the tweet has been withheld by Twitter.," Jat added.

Apart from section 153A of the IPC, Mevani has been booked under section 295A (malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings), 504 (provocation with an intention to break public peace) and under relevant sections of the IT Act.

After learning about Mevani's arrest, Gujarat Congress president Jagdish Thakor and other Congress leaders rushed to Ahmedabad airport around 4 am to express solidarity with Mevani.

To protest Mevani's arrest, Congress leaders and workers, including Thakor, Leader of Opposition Sukhram Rathva and former Gujarat Congress chief Siddharth Patel, staged a protest at Sarangpur circle and raised anti-BJP slogans.

Following their attempt to block the busy road, local police briefly detained nearly 20 Congress workers and leaders, including Thakor, said an official of the city police control room.

In Guwahati, surprisingly, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Thursday claimed that he was not aware of Jignesh Mevani's identity, hours after the MLA, was arrested and brought to the northeastern state from Gujarat.

The state Congress unit, however, smelt a conspiracy behind the arrest and rushed legal experts to the aid of the apprehended Dalit leader, who recently pledged his support to the grand old party.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhupen Borah, criticising the police action, said it smacked of conspiracy.

"Mevani has always been vocal against the BJP and the RSS," he said, shortly after the arrest.

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