Gujarat’s independent MLA, Jignesh Mevani, has expressed fears for his life after WhatsApp conversations by two senior police officers went viral on social media platforms. In the WhatsApp group ‘ADR Police & Media,’ a DSP level officer of Ahmedabad had posted a message, which was viewed as chilling threats to Mevani in response to his recent comments for Gujarat Police. The DSP’s threats had received a ‘thumbs up’ by his superior in the same group.
Two videos were reportedly posted in the WhatsApp group in question. In one video, a man appeared to be a politician was seen being thrashed by policemen, while the other video was of Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, who was seen defending his stand on police encounters in the state.
This prompted the DSP of Ahmedabad (rural), RB Devdha, to post a message, which read, “Those who want to be the baap of police and call the police as ‘lakhota’ and those, who take videos of police should remember that the police will be like this with people like you. We will settle scores. ‘Gujarat Police.”
Devdha’s boss and the SP of Ahmedabad (rural) replied to the message with a ‘thumbs up’ emoticon. However, Devdha was quoted by Indian Express that he had merely copied and pasted a forwarded message adding that it had been misinterpreted.
The message went viral after a Gujarat-based web portal Mera News carried reproduced the viral WhatsApp messages. Reacting to the development, Mevani tweeted, “Jignesh mevani’s encounter? Here is the link of gujarati web portal which exposes a WhatsApp communication where two top cops are discussing how I could be killed in an encounter. Can you believe this?”
Jignesh mevani’s encounter?
Here is the link of gujarati web portal which exposes a WhatsApp communication where two top cops are discussing how I could be killed in an encounter. Can you believe this ?https://t.co/qdS8e4iHCe
— Jignesh Mevani (@jigneshmevani80) February 23, 2018
Meanwhile, several Damil and Muslim groups including Rahstriya Dalit Adhikar Manch (founded by Mevani himself), Meri Awaaz and Gujarat Dalit Muslim Ekta Manch are meeting the state Director General of Police to present a memorandum on the matter. Mevani himself is scheduled to address a media conference in Delhi on Saturday.
On 18 February, Mevani had alleged that he was pulled out of his car in ‘ a very uncivilised manner’ by the state police, who later took him under their custody. In the video going viral, Mevani is seen engaged in a heated conversation with police personnel in plain clothes, who are seen trying to stop his car from moving ahead. An agitated Mevani is seen shouting at his driver to keep driving while also admonishing the policemen to remember that he was an elected representative. He was also heard asking the plain clothed policemen if it was their father’s property while also addressing the cops as lakhota (marbles) as they attempted to detain him.
Mevani was on his way to Ahmedabad to protest against the death of Dalit activist Bhanu Vankar, when he was detained by the police. Vankar had attempted self-immolation in Gujarat on 15 February. He had later succumbed to severe burn injuries.
Last month, in an interview to a magazine, Mevani had said that his life at risk. He had said, “There is a risk to my life. The BJP and the sangh can harm me. Dalit groups in Gujarat are worried that I will be targeted. I get threat calls. I have been provided one security guard. I will ask for more security.”