Congress leader and an MLA from Gujarat's Vadgam constituency, Jignesh Mevani on Tuesday arrived at the district and sessions court in Assam's Barpeta for a hearing.
He arrived in Assam in connection with a case filed against him at the Barpeta Road Police Station. Prior to this, Mevani had appeared before the court in the months of July and August, this year.
Addressing reporters there, Jignesh Mevani informed that the court has given him relief from the sections 294 and 353 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) pertaining to the singing, reciting and uttering of any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place, and assault or criminal force to deter public servant from discharging duty, respectively.
However, the matter remains under consideration for two other sections lodged against him in the case.
Speaking there, the Vadgam MLA said, "Today there was a hearing on my discharge application and two sections, Sec 294 and 353 were removed by the court from my case. Now two other sections remain for which the case will continue. The next hearing is in the upcoming month and I will come here again then."
"I will appear before the honourable court on the given date and go through the entire process. I respect the legal system and the court. I will face anything that comes my way," added Mevani.
He was then asked about participating in any of the opposition INDIA bloc's meetings to which Mevani said, "I have not attended any meeting of INDIA yet. Whatever will happen out of this, it will be for the good. The INDIA coalition will do good work. It will work for the betterment of Assam, Gujarat and the rest of the country."
Meanwhile, criticising the BJP-led Centre, Mevani called out the prolonged silence of the party leaders over atrocities faced by women across the country. He said, "Every woman, every mother in this country is Bharat Mata. Let BJP say whatever they want."
"I want to ask the BJP that when women were paraded naked in the streets of Manipur, what was the BJP doing? Where were they? Why is the BJP silent when dalit women are raped in BJP-ruled Madhya Pradesh? They should speak up at the time such crimes surface. Be it India or any other country in the world, women must be respected. It is a matter of humanity. This is the culture of Assam, Gujarat and India and it should be the culture around the world," said the Congress leader.
Asked about his views on the India vs Bharat row, Jignesh Mevani opined that it does not matter what the country is called, rather the focus should be on fighting the issues facing the development of the country.
He said, "You may want to call it India, Bharat or Hindustan, whatever you want, but the reality is that four crore people in the country do not have electricity connection. Around 35 to 40 crore people are unemployed in the country. These are the real issues that should be talked about."
"Around 18-20 crore people do not have a permanent residence. 40 to 45 children out of every 100 are malnourished. 50-55 out of every 100 women are anaemic. Farmers, unorganized labourers, students and unemployed youth are committing suicide everywhere. So whatever name you want to give the country, these matters should receive precedence," concluded Mevani.
It may be noted that the Dalit leader from Gujarat, Mevani was released from jail after completing legal formalities in Assam’s Kokrajhar in April 2022. The court had sent him to five days of police custody after he was accused of assaulting a policewoman while being taken by a police posse from Guwahati to Kokrajhar.
Jignesh Mevani had been picked up by a posse of Assam Police from Gujarat and was arrested in a case against him for a purported tweet on PM Modi where he had claimed that the Prime Minister “considered Godse as God”.
In the same tweet, he had urged PM Modi to appeal for communal harmony during his visit to Gujarat, according to the FIR filed at Kokrajhar Police Station in Assam, reported PTI.
After he was released on bail, Mevani was rearrested after being charged with assaulting a policewoman who was part of the police posse which accompanied him to Kokrajhar, according to a complaint registered against him in Barpeta.
In this case, he was booked under Indian Penal Code (IPC) sections 294, 323, 353 and 354 for allegedly uttering obscene words in public, voluntarily causing hurt, assaulting a public servant in the execution of duty and using criminal force on a woman intending to outrage her modesty, respectively.