A sessions court in Ahmedabad on Tuesday framed charges against Patidar leader Hardik Patel and his aides Dinesh Bambhaniya and Chirag Patel in a sedition case, reported the Hindustan Times. The Ahmedabad Police had arrested Bambhaniya earlier in the day after a court issued a warrant against him for failing to appear before it.
The charges were framed under Sections 124A (sedition) and 120B (criminal conspiracy) of the Indian Penal Code. The three accused signed the chargesheet after initially resisting the judge’s orders to do so, Gujarati News18 reported.
Patel, the leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, was the face of a movement in 2015 to demand reservations for his community in government jobs and educational institutions. He faces two cases of sedition for incidents during the agitation – one filed by the Ahmedabad Police and the other by Surat Police. Patel spent nine months in jail on sedition charges until he was granted bail in July 2016.
The case filed in Ahmedabad in October 2015 was related to a video in which Patel was purportedly seen asking his followers to kill policemen rather than commit suicide to demand reservations. He had questioned the authenticity of the video, but the Gujarat High Court had rejected his petition to discharge him in the case.
In January 2016, the Ahmedabad Police had filed a 2,700-page chargesheet, with details of telephone conversations between Patel, his associates and his supporters and statements of 503 witnesses. Patel filed a fresh application in an Ahmedabad sessions court in September 2017, saying there was no evidence against him, but Additional Sessions Judge Dilip Mahida had rejected his argument.
On Monday, the Surat Police Crime Branch arrested Alpesh Kathiriya, the south Gujarat convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in the sedition case registered against him and other Patidar leaders in 2015, The Times of India reported. Kathiriya was released on bail on Tuesday, News18 reported.