Fearing arrest, Gujarat Opposition leader keeps date with court

Fearing arrest, Gujarat Opposition leader keeps date with court

Fearing arrest, Gujarat Opposition leader keeps date with court

The leader of Opposition in Gujarat Assembly, Paresh Dhanani, rushed to the court of magistrate in Amreli on Monday, as the court warned it would be forced to issue arrest orders if he did not appear before it.

The ruling came in a case of 2015, when Dhanani had participated in an effigy burning programme when Anandiben Patel was the chief minister of the state. The programme was organised by the Amreli District Congress.

The Amreli police had lodged a complaint against Dhanani and 10 other Congress leaders, including former MP and legislator from Babra-Lathi Virji Thumar, Amreli Nagarpalika president Alkaben Gondalia and former legislator Thakshashibhai Matalia, under Section 188 of IPC (disobedience of order duly promulgated by public servant) for violation of the notification.

Dhanani, a legislator from Amerli in Saurashtra region, recently took over as the Leader of Opposition in the Assembly. The role of the 41-year-old legislator is important for Congress when the 14th  Legislative Assembly of Gujarat meets for Budget Session next month as many senior and experienced Congress leaders have failed to make it to the Assembly this time.

Though the case was being heard in the magistrate's court, the Congress leaders did not appear before it despite repeated reminders. This saw the court issuing a warning to the lawyer representing Congress leaders to make themselves present before it or face non-bailable arrest warrant.

Dhanani, Thumar and three other Congress leaders rushed to the court on Monday and appeared before judicial magistrate R C Sodhaparmar. The court has now fixed February 8 for next hearing as many other accused were not present on Monday.

Dhanani later told mediapersons that the BJP government in the state was behaving in a dictatorial manner, wherein even the Opposition party had to seek permission before holding demonstrations. "We have full faith in the judiciary of the country and believe that we will get justice," he said.