An Assam court has sharply criticised the state police for trying to implicate Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani in a “manufactured case” of assault on a woman police officer.
“Converting our hard-earned democracy into a police state is simply unthinkable,” read the order by sessions court judge Justice Aparesh Chakraborty.
Justice Chakraborty went on to say: “Contrary to the FIR, the woman (police officer) has given a different story before the learned magistrate…In view of the testimony of the woman, the instant case is manufactured for the purpose of keeping the accused Jignesh Mevani in detention for a longer period, abusing of the process of the court and the law.”
“If the instant case is accepted to be true and in view of the statement of the woman recorded by the magistrate…which is not, then we will have to rewrite the criminal jurisprudence of the country,” Justice Aparesh Chakraborty said.
The Barpeta sessions court in its order granting bail to Jignesh Mevani requested the Gauhati High Court to take up a petition on its own against recent police excesses in Assam, NDTV reported.
The order further read: “To prevent registration of false FIR like the present one and to give credibility to the police version of occurrences…and police personnel firing and killing or injuring such accused, which has become a routine phenomenon in the state, the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court may perhaps consider directing the Assam Police to reform itself by taking some measures like directing every police personnel to wear body cameras, to install CCTV in vehicles while arresting an accused…Otherwise our state will become a police state, which the society can ill afford.”
Mevani said to the reporters that the governing BJP by “using a woman” to “frame a case” against him has done a “cowardly thing.”
Mevani was re-arrested in the alleged assault case on 25 April just after he was granted bail by another court in Assam in a case over tweets criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Te 41-year-old MLA was accused of “assaulting and outraging” the modesty of a woman police officer in the new case against him.
Mevani, an arch critic of PM Modi, was first arrested on Thursday from Gujarat’s Palanpur by a team of Assam Police after a local BJP leader from Assam’s Kokrajhar filed a complaint against him over tweets on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mevani’s three-day police custody had ended on Sunday, after which he was produced before the court late in the evening. The court then sent him to one-day judicial custody.
Mevani had called his first arrest “vendetta politics by the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office)”. “It is a conspiracy by the BJP and the RSS. They did this to tarnish my image. They have been doing this systematically. They did it to Rohit Vemula, they did it to Chandrasekhar Azad, now they are targeting me,” Mevani told reporters today.
The Congress and other Opposition parties staged protests in Assam in support of Mevani following his arrest.