A court in Gujarat’s Mehsana district on Wednesday sentenced Hardik Patel and two of his aides to two years in jail in connection with a riots case during the Patel quota agitation in 2015. The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader was found guilty of vandalising Bharatiya Janata Party MLA Rishikesh Patel’s office, reported ANI. Soon after the verdict, all the convicts were granted bail.
Visnagar Sessions Court judge VP Agarwal held guilty Hardik Patel, Lalji Patel and AK Patel under sections of the Indian Penal Code pertaining to rioting, arson, damage to property and unlawful assembly, PTI reported. The three have also been fined Rs 50,000 each.
A total of 17 people were named accused in the case, but the court let off 14 others due to lack of evidence.
Ahead of the court verdict, Patel posted a video on his Facebook page appealing to his supporters to maintain peace.
In October, a court in Visnagar had cancelled the non-bailable arrest warrant against the Patidar leader on a bond of Rs 5,000 and granted him bail.
The Gujarat Police had also filed the sedition case against Patel in October 2015 based on a video in which he was seen asking his followers to kill policemen rather than commit suicide for the cause of reservation for the Patel community. Patel spent nine months in jail, from October 2015 to July 2016, on sedition charges.
Patel is the leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leading agitations, demanding Other Backward Class status and 27% reservation in government jobs and education for the Patel community.