Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Sunday criticised the Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat for arresting state party leader Hardik Patel the night before for failing to appear in a trial court here in a 2015 sedition case.
“Hardik Patel, who has been fighting for the employment of the youth and farmers’ right, is being frequently harassed by the BJP,” she tweeted. “Hardik amplified the voices of his community, sought jobs and scholarships for them, and fought for farmers. The BJP is calling such a person traitor.”
Patel, the leader of the Patidar agitation, was charged with sedition after violence broke out during a rally of the Patel community in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015. Patel’s outfit, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, demanded Other Backward Class status and 27% reservation in government jobs and education for the Patidar or Patel community. Hardik Patel spent nine months in jail – October 2015 to July 2016 – in connection with the case before being granted bail.
Two years later, in November 2018, the court framed charges against him and the other accused persons. On Saturday, Additional Sessions Judge BG Ganatra issued Patel’s arrest warrant after accepting the government’s plea against an exemption application moved by the Congress leader’s lawyer. The court noted that Patel, who has to be cross-examined in the case, had violated bail conditions by not regularly attending court proceedings, Hindustan Times reported.
The Patidar leader was arrested from Viramgam taluka in Ahmedabad district, and was sent to judicial custody till January 24, India Today reported. He is likely to be produced in court on Monday, according to The Hindu.