AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL INDIA
Responding to the re-arrest today of Jignesh Mevani, an independent Dalit member of the Gujarat legislative assembly, immediately after he was granted bail by a court in Assam, Aakar Patel, Chair of Amnesty International’s India Board, said:
“The fact that Jignesh Mevani was arrested for a second time immediately after being granted bail reveals the authorities’ utter disregard for the rule of law and their intention to escalate the ongoing crackdown on dissent.
This re-arrest smacks of nothing else than a politically motivated act to silence opposition leaders ahead of the state assembly elections.Aakar Patel, Chair of Amnesty International’s India Board
“By constantly shrinking the space in which dissenting voices can operate, the Indian authorities are making a mockery of the right to freedom of expression. Their unrelenting witch-hunt against critics of the authorities completely undermines India’s international human rights obligations and its role as a member of the UN Human Rights Council.”
On 20 April, Assam police arrested opposition politician Jignesh Mevani in Gujarat State over a tweet he posted on 18 April, in which he called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to maintain peace in Khambat, Himmatnagar and Verawal.
Prime Minister Modi was visiting the three urban areas, which had seen anti-Muslim violence during the Hindu festival of Ram Navami.
Arup Kumar Dey, an Assam-based member of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, accused Mevani of “spreading enmity between different communities”, and writing an “intentional insult to provoke breach of peace” and “statements amounting to public mischief”, among others, under the Indian Penal Code.
On 21 April, Mevani was remanded to police custody for three days by an Assam court. On 25 April, he was granted bail, yet was immediately re-arrested by police in Barpeta, another district of Assam, for “indulging in obscene acts and songs”, “voluntarily causing hurt”, “assault or criminal force to deter a public servant from discharging duty” and “outraging the modesty of a woman”.