A court in Assam has severely criticised the state police for trying to implicate Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani in a “manufactured case” of assault on a woman constable.
Mr Mevani, who was arrested in the “manufactured” assault case on April 25 just after he was granted bail by another court in Assam in a case over tweets on Prime Minister Narendra Modi, was today granted bail by the court in Assam’s Barpeta.
The Barpeta sessions court in its order granting bail to Mr Mevani requested the Gauhati High Court to take up a petition on its own against recent police excesses in the state.
The BJP is in power in Assam, and Mr Mevani has alleged the ruling party is behind his arrest on the tweets against PM Modi and the subsequent alleged assault on the woman constable, which the court has now termed as a “manufactured case”.
The sessions court also asked the Gauhati High Court to order the Assam Police to wear body cameras and install CCTV cameras in their vehicles to capture the sequence of events when an accused is taken into custody.
“Converting our hard-earned democracy into a police state is simply unthinkable,” sessions court judge Justice Aparesh Chakraborty said in the order. “If the instant case is accepted to be true and in view of the statement of the woman recorded by the magistrate…which is not, then we will have to rewrite the criminal jurisprudence of the country,” the court said.
“Contrary to the FIR (first information report), the woman has given a different story before the learned magistrate…In view of the testimony of the woman, the instant case is manufactured for the purpose of keeping the accused Jignesh Mevani in detention for a longer period, abusing of the process of the court and the law,” the court said.
“To prevent registration of false FIR like the present one and to give credibility to the police version of occurrences…and police personnel firing and killing or injuring such accused, which has become a routine phenomenon in the state, the Hon’ble Gauhati High Court may perhaps consider directing the Assam Police to reform itself by taking some measures like directing every police personnel to wear body cameras, to install CCTV in vehicles while arresting an accused…Otherwise our state will become a police state, which the society can ill afford,” the sessions court said.
After he was released today, Mr Mevani said the ruling BJP by “using a woman” to “frame a case” against him has done a “cowardly thing”. “My arrest was not a simple matter. It must have been done under the instruction of political bosses at the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office),” Mr Mevani told NDTV today.
“…And in the second case, they cooked up a story to frame a case by using a woman. The government is such a coward that it used a woman against me. Such a coward act it is,” the Gujarat MLA said, adding the ruling BJP is doing all this with an eye on the Gujarat election, which will be held later this year.