Independent Gujarat MLA and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani and nine others were convicted and sentenced to three months’ imprisonment by a magisterial court in Gujarat on Thursday in a five-year-old case of holding an ‘Azadi march’ without permission.
On 12 July, 2017, to mark one year of the brutal public flogging of Dalits by upper-caste Hindus in Una that had led to a large-scale protest in the state, Mevani and his associates led an ‘Azadi Kooch’ from Mehsana to Dhanera of neighbouring Banaskantha district.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate JA Parmar held Jignesh Mevani and nine others guilty of being part of an unlawful assembly, under section 143 of the Indian Penal Code, PTI reported.
Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Reshma Patel is among those convicted.
This comes weeks after Mevani was arrested twice by the Assam Police on various charges.
Mevani, an arch critic of PM Modi, was arrested from Gujarat on 20 April and flown to Guwahati the next morning following a complaint filed by a BJP leader in Assam over a tweet criticising Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On 25 April, Mevani was granted bail by a Kokrajhar court, but was re-arrested in a fresh case filed t on the basis of a complaint by a woman police officer who accused him of “assaulting” her and “outraging her modesty”. In the second case, he was granted bail and court said that the case was “fabricated.”