Supporters of the popular Patidar agitation movement and Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani were detained in Gujarat before Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Navsari, where he announced a multi-crore irrigation project, along with schemes for tribals.
Dalit leader Jignesh Mevani was detained at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel International Airport by police on Friday after he returned from New Delhi. The Detection of Crime Branch (DCB) took him into custody, telling his cousin Viral not to interfere. At least 100 Dalits gathered at the DCB headquarters to demand his release. He was later released around midnight and put under house arrest. The leader was later allowed to visit Dholka city in the company of police personnel.
"As soon as he (Jignesh) came out, around 25 policemen in plainclothes asked him to sit in their vehicle. When I asked them to let me talk to Jignesh, they told me that it was a police matter and I should not interfere," Viral said. The police said that he was being taken in for questioning, and would be released soon.
Mevani, who has become a popular face in the political circles of Gujarat, shot to fame after he protested against a Dalit family being stripped and flogged in Una taluka of Gir-Somnath district on 11 July.
Around 400 members of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti were also detained on Friday. They had threatened to hold a protest in Navsari as they were refused a meeting with Modi.
Mevani had also mentioned during a public event in Vejalpur area of Ahmedabad that Modi's programme on Saturday "could be disrupted." He had given a call for "rail roko andolan" at different places in Gujarat and gherao of Dholka Prant Officer in Ahmedabad district. The gherao was planned to demand possession of land allocated to Dalits under the Agriculture Land Ceiling Act. The land had been allocated only on paper, but was not handed over to the farmers.