Assam Police arrested Gujarat MLA (from Vadgam) and Indian National Congress leader Jignesh Mevani last night for his tweet allegedly “inciting” the people by saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi considers Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi’s assassin Nathuram Godse his god.
Mevani had also appealed for peace, citing the recent communal violence in Himmatnagar, Khambhat and Veraval towns of Gujarat. Mevani’s close aide Subodh Parmar, a lawyer and Dalit rights activist, said that Assam Police caught Mevani from Palanpur circuit house following an FIR filed in Kokrajhar, Assam.
INC leader Rahul Gandhi has termed as “undemocratic” and “unconstitutional” the arrest of his party’s MLA Mevani and said Prime Minister Modi cannot imprison the truth by trying to “crush” dissent.
A resident of Bhabanipur village in Kokrajhar district of Assam — Anup Dey — had filed the FIR a day before 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 the public peace) and 505 (1) (B) (an intention to cause fear and alarm in the public to commit an offence against the state or against the public tranquillity) of the Indian Penal Code along with the charges of the Information Technology (IT) Act.
In his plea before the police, Dey said that he had come across a tweet by Mevani dated 18 April where the MLA had claimed that the prime minister worshipped Nathuram Godse as a god, requesting Modi to make an appeal for communal harmony.
“The Twitter user mentioned that the Prime Minister of India Mr Narendra Modi worships and considers Godse as (sic) God and appealed that the PM on his visit on 20th April to Gujarat should make an appeal to the public for the peace and harmony in areas such as Himmat Nagar, Khambhat and Beraval (Veraval) in Gujarat where communal violence (Komi Hadse) had taken place. (sic),” reads the FIR filed with Kokrajhar police.
Dey said that the circulation of the tweet had caused widespread outrage. He said that Mevani’s claim had the propensity to disturb public tranquillity, prejudicial to the maintenance of harmony among a certain section of the people. “It is more likely to incite a section of masses belonging to a certain community to commit any offence against other community and as such has the tendency to destroy the social fabric of different communities residing in this part of the country,” mentions the FIR.
The FIR further reads, “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. It is suspected that there may be some unseen hands trying to capitalize on such sensitive issues to disturb the unity, peace and brotherhood.”
According to some officers, Assam Police caught Mevani at the Palanpur circuit house and took him later to Ahmedabad via road. Then, the cops flew him from the Ahmedabad airport to Guwahati during the wee hours today.
Gujarat Pradesh Congress Committee president Jagdish Thakor along with party MLAs protested at the airport.
Assam Police flew Mevani to Guwahati from Ahmedabad this morning and took him to Kokrajhar by road, more than 220 km from Guwahati, as the case under which he was arrested was registered there.
“Modi ji, you can try to crush dissent by abusing the state machinery. But you can never imprison the truth,” Gandhi said on Twitter, using the hashtag “#DaroMat” and “#SatyamevaJayate”, attaching a report that said that Assam Police had taken Mevani into custody for his tweets on Prime Minister Modi.
“The undemocratic manner in which Assam Police has detained Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani is an anti-constitutional move and an insult to the people who have elected him as a public representative. Congress workers will raise their voice against oppression,” the INC said on its official Twitter handle in Hindi.