Mevani, 18 others get 6-month jail in 2016 protest case
A local court in Ahmedabad on Friday sentenced Dalit leader and Gujarat Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani and 18 others to six months in jail term in connection with a case involving a protest at Gujarat University in 2016, according to Live Law. Notably, Mevani and his Rashtriya Dalit Adhikari Manch colleagues were arrested on charges of rioting and inflicting property damage during the protests.
- Mevani is an independent MLA from Gujarat's Vadgam. However, he recently extended support to Congress.
- He is a prominent Dalit leader and is known for his criticism of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
- Mevani and Congress had claimed that action against him was nothing but a political conspiracy to tarnish his image ahead of the upcoming 2022 Gujarat polls.
According to reports, Mevani and his companions were sentenced by an Ahmedabad court in connection with a protest and road blocking movement. The court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate PN Goswami also imposed a fine on Mevani and others. However, it postponed their sentencing till October 17 in order for them to file appeals, reports said.
The complaint was brought against the accused including the Dalit leader for staging a traffic blockage in order to push their demand that an under-construction building at Gujarat University's law department is named after Dr. BR Ambedkar. The FIR was filed under sections 143 (unlawful assembly) and 147 (rioting) of the Indian Penal Code, as well as portions of the Gujarat Police Act.
In May, a Gujarat court convicted Mevani and nine people in a five-year-old case of conducting an 'Azadi march' without authorization and sentenced them to three months in prison. Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate JA Parmar found him and other important politicians guilty of unlawful assembly in July 2017 under Section 143 of the Indian Penal Code.
Mevani, a notable Dalit leader, won the 2017 Assembly election as an independent with Congress's support. He represents the Vadgam seat in the Gujarat Legislative Assembly He was then appointed as the working president of the party's Gujarat section. Born on December 11, 1980, Mevani is also a former journalist, lawyer-activist, and presently convener of the Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (RDAM).