Ahmedabad: After two arrests in eight days and seven days of them under police custody, an Assam court on Friday finally granted bail to Gujarat’s firebrand Dalit Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani in a second alleged case of misbehaving with a woman sub-inspector in a police vehicle.
Mevani’s first reaction was a strongly-worded tweet that reflected that his ordeal had only strengthened his will to fight back. He tweeted after his bail: “I have faith in the Indian judiciary, I had to get bail. BJP & PM Modi arrested me just for a tweet & kept me in jail in Assam, what message do they want to give? This was a conspiracy planned at PM’s office. I will fight against BJP & RSS all my life.”
Mevani, who led a major Dalit movement in Gujarat after the shocking flogging of Dalit boys in July 2016 who were stripped and dragged by the assailants who dumped him outside a police station, was granted bail by an Assam court in the case of an alleged assault on a woman police official. The court went to the extent of observing that the case slapped on him appeared a made-up case.
His lawyer Angshuman Bora said the local Barpeta Sessions Court had on Thursday reserved its orders on Mevani’s bail. His first bail application was rejected two days ago by a local court and was remanded to police custody for five days.
The MLA, who won from the Vadgam Assembly constituency in North Gujarat as an Independent with Congress support is now all set to join the Congress and contest the upcoming State Assembly elections.
He was arrested for the second time after he was granted bail by a court in Assam’s Kokrajhar city in a case related to his tweet about Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Mevani had tweeted that the prime minister worshipped Mahatma Gandhi’s assassin, Nathuram Godse.
The next case was filed after a complaint by a woman police sub-inspector named Debika Brahma, who had alleged that Mevani had “uttered slang words” and assaulted her while he was being taken from Guwahati airport to Kokrajhar district. Interestingly, this according to the police case, happened in a police vehicle where a male Superintendent of Police was also present.
Mevani was booked under Indian Penal Code Sections 294 (obscene act in any public place), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt), 353 (assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharge of his duty) and 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modesty).
Meanwhile, dozens of Dalit organisations and activists who had planned a huge Jail Bharo Andolan across Gujarat on the state’s foundation day on May 1 and 1,100 villages with a high Dalit population asserted that they would go ahead with their agitation if he is “framed” in any other case.