Dalit leader and MLA Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday arrived in Gujarat, nearly two weeks after being arrested by the Assam police, and hit out at the state’s BJP government calling it “nikamma” (useless) for doing nothing when a legislator from the state was “kidnapped” and taken away.
Addressing a gathering soon after landing in Ahmedabad, Mevani also threatened to give a call for ‘Gujarat bandh’ on June 1 if cases against Dalits in Una tehsil (filed over protests post assault on some Dalits in July 2016) and other agitators in the state are not withdrawn and demands of grade pay for policemen and other protesting groups not met by the government.
“I would like to tell the Gujarat government that you are so ‘nikamma’ (useless), that you could do nothing when the Assam police came to Gujarat to trample upon its pride. You should be ashamed of it.
“The Assam police kidnapping an MLA from Gujarat and taking him to Assam is an insult to 6.5 crore people of Gujarat,” the independent MLA said at the gathering where state Congress president Jagdish Thakor, and senior party leaders like Arjun Modhwadia and Amit Chavda were also present.
He made the people assembled for the programme take an oath to never vote for the BJP or attend an RSS shakha.
Mevani also targeted the Assam government for not saying “sorry” over a lower court’s critical observation regarding an FIR filed against him in the north-eastern state.
“Instead of feeling ashamed over the observation made by the court, questioning its conscience and reviewing its character, it (Assam government) came out with a stay order (from Gauhati High Court) so as not to publish that review order (of lower court). But it is not yet ready to say sorry,” he said.
Among other things, the HC had said that the lower court’s observation about the case against Mevani appearing to be “manufactured to keep him in custody for longer” was beyond its jurisdiction in a bail matter.
Mevani arrived in Ahmedabad in the evening to a resounding welcome by his supporters at the airport. The MLA from Vadgam in Banaskantha district thanked Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other national and Congress leaders from Gujarat and Assam for their support during his arrest.
Two weeks ago, Mevani was picked up by the Assam police from Palanpur in Gujarat over his purported tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Soon after being released on bail in the tweet case a few days ago, he was rearrested for allegedly assaulting a policewoman who was part of the police party which accompanied him to Kokrajhar in Assam.
The Gujarat MLA was granted bail in the second case also and on Saturday last he completed pending bail formalities at a court in Kokrajhar. He was granted permission by the court to leave the Assam town as one of his bail conditions was to stay within the limits of the court’s jurisdiction.
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