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'Azadi march': MLA Jignesh Mevani, nine others get three-month jail

Though the Mehsana district authorities had granted permission earlier, it was revoked later on

Jignesh Mevani

Press Trust of India  |  Mehsana 

Jignesh Mevani, Gujpoll
Photo courtesy: @jigneshmevani80 Twitter handle

A magisterial court in Mehsana town of Gujarat on Thursday convicted independent MLA and nine others in a five-year-old case of holding a protest march without police permission, and sentenced them to three months of imprisonment.

Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate J A Parmar held Dalit leader Mevani and nine others, including NCP leader Reshma Patel, guilty of being part of an unlawful assembly under section 143 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC). The court also slapped a fine of Rs 1,000 on each of the 10 convicts, who include members of Mevani's Rashtriya Dalit Adhikar Manch.

After delivering the verdict, the court accepted Mevani's plea for a stay on the order and granted bail to all the convicts till they file an appeal in the higher court against this judgement.

Mehsana 'A' division police had registered an FIR against Mevani and others for trying to take out 'Azadi Kooch' or Freedom March from Mehsana to Dhanera in Banaskantha district in July 2017 without the police permission.

Reshma Patel, a Patidar quota leader back then, was not part of any political party when she took part in the march.

Of the total 12 accused shown in the FIR, one had died, while trial against former president of the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) students' union, Kanhaiya Kumar, who is also an accused, is still pending before the court.

On July 12, 2017, Mevani's outfit had organised Freedom March from Mehsana to Dhanera to mark the first anniversary of Una Dalit flogging incident. One of the agenda of the march was to pressure the government to allocate agricultural land to Dalits as per the law.

Though the Mehsana district authorities had granted permission earlier, it was revoked later on.

Since Mevani, who became an MLA in December 2017, and others went ahead with their plan without permission, an FIR was registered against them and the march was eventually stopped on the outskirts of Mehsana city.

Mevani returned to Gujarat on Tuesday, nearly two weeks after being arrested by the Assam police over his purported tweet against Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Soon after being released on bail in the tweet case, he had been rearrested for allegedly assaulting a policewoman who was part of the police party which accompanied him to Kokrajhar in Assam.The legislator was later granted bail in the second case as well.

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Fri, May 06 2022. 01:14 IST