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Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani arrested by Assam Police over ‘tweets on PM Modi’

Mevani, who had in September 2021 extended support to Congress, was picked up from Circuit House in Palanpur, Gujarat, and may be taken to Assam tonight.

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Guwahati: Jignesh Mevani, the MLA from Gujarat’s Vadgam constituency, was arrested by Assam Police late Wednesday night, reportedly over tweets on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, which have now been withheld by microblogging site Twitter. 

The police picked up Mevani, who was elected as an independent MLA but extended support to the Congress in September 2021, from Circuit House in Palanpur. 

ThePrint has accessed the FIR, filed on the basis of a complaint made by Kokrajhar resident Arup Kumar Dey on 19 April.

In his complaint, Dey has referred to Mevani’s tweets and claimed, “The circulation of the tweet published in the Twitter has caused widespread criticism and has the propensity to disturb public tranquility, prejudicial to maintenance of harmony among a certain section of people.”

It added: “The tweet may cause disaffection towards a particular community and in all probability is sure to promote enmity or hatred towards different communities, detrimental to peace and harmony of the common masses.”

The FIR was filed under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy),153-b (imputations, assertions, prejudicial to national integration), 295-A (deliberate and malicious intention of outraging the religious feelings of any class), 504 (intentional insult and provocation to breach public peace), 505 (1)(b)(c) (an intention to cause fear and alarm in the public to commit an offence against the state or against the public tranquility and the intent to incite any class or community) and sections of the Information Technology Act.

A police officer from Kokrajhar confirmed that Mevani has been sent to three days police remand by the local court.

Confirming the development, Congress’ Kanhaiya Kumar tweeted early Thursday: “Police yet to share the copy of the FIR with us, we have been informed about some case filed against him in Assam and is likely to be deported to Assam tonight.”

ThePrint has sought a comment from Assam’s Director General of Police (DGP) Bhaskar Jyoti Mahanta on the arrest via phone calls, but did not receive a response. This article will be updated when a response is received. 

Also Read: Hardik, Anant, Jignesh — young ‘friends’ get Congress in war mode ahead of Gujarat polls

Withheld tweets

According to a Deccan Herald report, at the time of the arrest, police refused to divulge the charge against Mevani, but following protests by a group of Congress leaders, produced a document according to which one Anup Kumar Dey, a resident of Assam’s Kokrajhar district, had filed a complaint over some of Mevani’s tweets.

A look at Mevani’s timeline showed that two tweets had been withheld by Twitter “in response to a legal demand”. 

One of the tweets, posted on 18 April, had described Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a “worshipper” of Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse. 

Godse ko apna aradhya dev mannevale pradhanmantri modi 20 tareekh se Gujarat daure par hain, unse appeal hain ki Gujarat mein himmat nagar, khambhat aur veraval mein jo kaumi haadse hue uske khilaaf shaanti aur aman ki appeal karein, Mahatma mandir ke nirmata se itna ummid toh banta hai na? (Godse worshipper PM Modi, will be on a visit to Gujarat from the 20th. I urge him to make an appeal for peace and harmony against the communal incidents that took place in Himmat Nagar, Khambhat and Veraval. I can hope for this much from the creator of the Mahatma Mandir,” it said. 

An earlier tweet, also withheld, read: “Nagpur ke jin gaddaronein dshko tak tiranga nahi lahraya wahi RSS ke log kal bhagwa jhanda lekar Gujarat ke veraval tehsil ki ek masjid par naach rahe the. Gaddaro kuch tuh sharam kro. Yeh ramprasad bismil aur ashfaqullah khan ka mulk hain. Yaha shaanti aur aman banaye rakhiye. Sarkar apne napak (unholy) iraadon se baaz aaye. (The traitors from Nagpur who for decades didn’t hoist the tricolour, people from that RSS were dancing on a mosque in Gujarat’s Veraval tehsil. This is Ramprasad Bismil and Ashfaqulla Khan’s nation. Please keep peace and harmony. Government should abandon its unholy intentions.”

This story has been updated with details of the FIR against Jignesh Mevani.

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

Also Read: BJP on backfoot in Gujarat, time for Congress to mobilise people, Jignesh Mevani says 


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