Jignesh Mewani

I am immensely and most disagreeably surprised by the excessive action of the Assam Police in arresting legislator Jignesh Mewani from far-off Gujarat for a bitter critical comment on the Prime Minister on the complaint of someone from Assam.

The complainant may have the highest regard for the Prime Minister.But others are within their rights to hold and air a completely contrary view.If that comment includes an exaggeration or an unsubstantiated opinion,even then it may be allowed if it does not seriously disturb peace and tranquility anywhere in the country.After all political leaders and journalists air similar views against objects of their ire a hundred times a day. Neither can it be said that the comment hinders the PM in discharging his duties in any way. Assam Police appears to be acting like an immature teen-ager who takes offence at anything that displeases him.

This gross over-reach by a Law and Order agency is in my view a serious violation of the core principles of freedom of speech.

Jignesh Mewani should be released immediately without more ado.

Hiren Gohain is a political commentator

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