Jignesh Mevani threatens 'Gujarat bandh' on June 1: Details here
Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani has threatened to call for a statewide strike on June 1 if the BJP-led state government doesn't meet his demands. He sought the dismissal of cases against Dalits in the 2016 Una flogging case, among other demands. The warning by Mevani—recently arrested by Assam Police and later granted bail—came at an Ahmedabad rally after he returned to Gujarat on Tuesday.
- Vadgam MLA and Dalit leader, Mevani, is a vocal critic of BJP and PM Narendra Modi.
- Last month, Assam Police arrested him over anti-Modi tweets, but was granted bail.
- However, he was immediately re-arrested in another case—which an Assam court described as "manufactured."
- Alleging his arrest was a conspiracy, Mevani gave an ultimatum to Gujarat's ruling BJP to meet his demands after his release.
After being granted bail in both cases against him, Mevani arrived in Gujarat on Tuesday and addressed a public rally in Ahmedabad's Vadaj area. He said, "If this government doesn't withdraw cases registered against Dalits during the Una protests, then Gujarat will be closed on June 1." "The cases should be withdrawn the way cases related to [Gujarat's] Patidar agitation were withdrawn," he added.
On Monday, too, Mevani threatened to declare a Gujarat Bandh on June 1 if the government didn't meet his demands. Besides the withdrawal of cases against Dalits in Una, he demanded the dismissal of cases against Vadgam's minorities. He also demanded action against those behind the leaking of 22 exam papers and the recent recovery of Rs. 1.75 lakh crore-worth drugs at Mundra Port.
On April 20, Mevani was arrested from Gujarat by the Assam Police for anti-Modi tweets. He was granted bail on April 25 but was rearrested the same day allegedly for "assaulting and outraging" the modesty of a woman cop. Criticizing police for trying to frame Mevani, Assam's Barpeta Sessions Court granted him bail in the second case on Friday. He was released on Saturday.
A day after his release from prison, Mevani on Monday alleged his recent arrest by the Assam Police was a pre-planned conspiracy "designed" by the Prime Minister's Office to "destroy" him ahead of the 2022 Gujarat polls. "I call this 56 inches of cowardice...the PMO was involved in this," he stated, referring to Modi's "56-inch chest" assertion.
Referring to the court's remarks in his bail order, Mevani stated on Monday that CM Himanta Biswa Sarma-led Assam government should be "ashamed" of itself. "On April 19th, the FIR was registered. Police traveled over 2,500km on the same day to arrest me," he said.
On Tuesday, Mevani also lauded Justice Aparesh Chakraborty who granted him bail on Friday while pulling up the Assam Police. He said, "Nowadays, the number of people with a spine has become fewer... But I—Jignesh Mevani, an accused—am saluting the judge for showing a strong spine." Passing the bail order, Chakraborty had said, "Converting our hard-earned democracy into a police state is simply unthinkable."
During the Ahmedabad rally, Mevani also said people may be wondering why the Assam Police came all the way to Gujarat to arrest a sitting MLA. He claimed they did so because he has been resisting the BJP and RSS across India. Mevani added he has also been asking people not to vote for the BJP or attend RSS shakhas, The Indian Express reported.