File photo of Jignesh Mevani

Kokrajhar (Assam): A day after a court in Assam‘s Kokrajhar district sent Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani to police custody, the Congress on Friday staged a demonstration outside Kokrajhar Police Station, where the Dalit leader was being held.

Opposing Mevani’s “illegal arrest”, members of the party demanded his immediate release.

They raised slogans against the BJP government and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Mevani, an Independent MLA supported by the Congress, was apprehended from Palanpur town in Gujarat on Wednesday night after a First Information Report (FIR) under various sections of the IPC and the IT Act was filed in Kokrajhar Police Station over his purported tweet against the prime minister.

According to the FIR, he had purportedly posted a tweet, claiming Prime Minister Narendra Modi “considered Godse as God”.

Mevani was flown to Guwahati from Gujarat on Thursday morning and then taken to Kokrajhar by road, where he was produced at the chief judicial magistrate’s court, which remanded him in three days’ police custody.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) working president and MLA Jakir Hussain Sikdar, leading the protest, claimed that Mevani had been arrested to “thwart his influence” in Gujarat.

“Narendra Modi’s pride is going to take a beating when the BJP loses Gujarat soon. Mevani has great influence on people there. This has been done to keep him away,” Sikdar claimed.

Independent Assam MLA Akhil Gogoi, also here, alleged that Assam chief minister and the chief of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC), of which Kokrajhar is the headquarters, are working in connivance in this matter.

“Whatever they may be saying now, it looks like the chief minister and the BTC chief (Pramod Boro) have discussed among themselves and did this (arrest Mevani). It is nothing but an attempt to appease the BJP top brass,” he claimed.

“It is strange that a person from Gujarat is arrested by Assam Police for a tweet; it’s like opening an umbrella in Assam when it’s raining in Gujarat,” the Raijor Dal president said.

A team of three lawyers, led by head of legal cell of Assam Pradesh Congress Committee Manoj Bhagawati, is representing the Gujarat MLA.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had on Thursday claimed that he was not aware who Mevani was.

Mevani had won as an independent MLA from Vadgam (SC) seat of Banaskantha in 2017 with Congress support.

Though he is “ideologically” with the Congress, he has not joined the party officially.

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