“Vendetta politics by Prime Minister’s Office”: Jignesh Mevani on arrest

Vadgam MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani, who was arrested by the Assam Police from Gujarat late on Wednesday, for two of his tweets criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has alleged that his arrest was “vendetta politics and this is by Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).”

While going into the courtroom with the police, Mewani, in response to mediapersons’ questions, said, “This is vendetta politics and this is by PMO.”

Mevani was later flown to Assam and produced in court in Kokrajhar on Thursday.

The complaint against Mevani, filed by local Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Arup Kumar Dey wrote in the complaint that Mevani in one of his tweets, had said, “PM Modi worships Godse” and ‘…that the PM on his Gujarat visit must make an appeal for harmony in light of the recent events of communal violence in the state.”

The FIR against the leader has been filed under IPC sections 120B (criminal conspiracy), section 153(A) (promoting enmity between two communities), 295(A) (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage reli­gious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or reli­gious beliefs), 504 (intentional insult with intent to provoke breach of peace), and various sections of the IT Act.

Condemning Mevani’s arrest, former Congress chief Rahul Gandhi tweeted, “Modi ji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery. But you can never imprison the truth.”

“Is it now a crime to appeal for communal harmony in the country and appeal to the Prime Minister not to fight the two communities?” asks Congress leader Randeep Singh Surjewala.

Several Congress leaders led by Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Jagdish Thakor staged a protest against Mevani’s arrest at the Ahmedabad airport at around 3:30 am on Thursday.

“The BJP government is intimidating when the youth raise the voice of the people against the BJP government. But we will not be afraid to fight,” Thakor said.

Many including award winning author Meena Kandasamy and actress Swara Bhasker, and others tweeted in Mevani’s support, raising concerns about the arrest.