Gujarat Police on Sunday detained Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel and his supporters who were trying to organise a protest fast in Ahmedabad’s Nikol, PTI reported. Crime Branch Deputy Commissioner of Police Deepan Bhadran said Patel and eight leaders of the group were detained outside the Patidar leader’s house in Sola.
Several of the group’s members staged a protest outside the Crime Branch and demanded Hardik Patel’s release. The protestors accused the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government of being repressive.
Hardik Patel took to Twitter on Sunday night to say that he had been released. “The Gujarat Bharatiya Janata Party is like the British,” Patel tweeted. “We will demand loan waivers for famers, reservations for the community, and fundamental rights at the Anichachitakalin Anshan on August 25.”
Patel had announced that he would join 500 of his supporters in holding a symbolic fast at a parking lot in Nikol to secure the state’s permission to hold an indefinite fast at a ground on August 25. The event is part of their ongoing movement demanding a quota for Patidar youth in jobs and education. Patel is believed to have written to Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani seeking his permission for the August 25 event.
“The Crime Branch has registered a first information report against Hardik Patel and others under sections 143 (Unlawful assembly) and 186 (Obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of the IPC,” Bhadran told the news agency.
Deputy Commissioner of Police Himkar Singh said 30 of the group’s leaders and supporters were detained in Nikol and Ramol. “They were detained when they were on their way to attend the protest gathering for which they had no police permission,” Singh said.
The police department deployed several personnel to the site where the fast was planned. Singh said there is heavy police deployment in Nikol to prevent protesters from assembling.
Other cases against Hardik Patel
On July 25, a court in Gujarat’s Mehsana district sentenced 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.
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.
The group has been leading agitations demanding Other Backward Class status and 27% reservation in government jobs and education for the Patel community.