Assam court sends Jignesh Mevani to 5-day police custody
Guwahati, April 26 (IANS) A court in Assam's Barpeta district on Tuesday rejected the bail petition of Independent Gujarat MLA and Dalit activist Jignesh Mevani, and sent him to five-day police custody, a day after he was re-arrested by the Assam police on different charges, including "outraging the modesty of a woman police officer".
The Chief Judicial Magistarte's court in Barpeta remanded the Gujarat legislator to police custody after he was re-arrested on Monday, soon after the CJM's court in Kokrajhar district granted him bail, six days after he was arrested by Assam police from his home state in Gujarat in connection with an "objectionable" tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Mevani's lawyer Angshuman Bora told IANS over phone that they would decide on Wednesday whether the bail petition would be moved to a higher court.
The Barpeta police, following a complaint lodged by a woman sub-inspector, levelled several charges against Mevani. These include IPC 294 (obscene acts or words in public), IPC 323 (voluntarily causing hurt), IPC 353 (Assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and IPC 354 (Whoever assaults or uses criminal force to any woman, intending to outrage or knowing it to be likely that he will there by outrage her modesty).
The sub-inspector in her complaint alleged that on April 21 when she was escorting Mevani from the Guwahati airport to Kokrajhar along with other police officers, the accused used slang words against her and pushed her on her seat with force.
"He (Mevani) thus assaulted me during the execution of my legal duty of being a public servant and outraged my modesty by touching me inappropriately while pushing," read the complaint accessed by IANS.
The Gujarat legislator was first arrested on April 20 in connection with an "objectionable" tweet against the Prime Minister posted on April 18.
Mevani was flown to Guwahati the next day and then taken to Kokrajhar by road.
The CJM's court in Kokrajhar district on April 21 rejected the bail petition of the Dalit activist and sent him to three-day police custody.
On Sunday, after hearing his bail petition, the court reserved its order and sent him to one-day judicial custody and asked the police to produce Mevani again in the court on Monday.
After his re-arrest on Monday, Mevani had said that it is a deep-rooted conspiracy by the BJP and RSS.
"They (BJP and RSS) are doing this to tarnish my image and are doing this systematically. They did it to Rohit Vemula, they did it to Chandrasekhar Azad, now they are targeting me," he had told the media.
The Gujarat legislator was arrested following a complaint filed by an Assam BJP leader seeking action against him under the IT Act.
Ever since the arrest of Mevani, who had earlier pledged outside support to the Congress, the party has been holding demonstrations in different parts of Assam, terming the arrest as a 'conspiracy'.
It also sent its legal teams to Kokrajhar and Barpeta districts to look into the matter.
Congress' leader of the opposition, Debabrata Saikia, on Tuesday alleged that it is a conspiracy and the Assam police is acting in a partisan manner.
A Congress delegation on Tuesday tried to meet Governor Jagdish Mukhi, but he refused to meet the Congress leaders and asked their to send their issues in writing to him.
The Assam Congress has also launched a massive social media campaign against the arrest of the Gujarat legislator.
Congress MP from Thiruvananthapuram Shashi Tharoor tweeted: "Political misuse of the justice system has reached a new extreme. An elected representative of the people in our democracy jailed for a tweet! Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani granted bail in Kokrajhar but was arrested again by Barpeta police for a fabricated case."