Hardik gets bail, told to stay out of Gujarat

Arrested in October 2015, the Patidar leader was slapped with two cases of sedition after his agitation turned violent in July 2015.

Updated - September 18, 2016 12:52 pm IST

Published - July 08, 2016 11:23 pm IST - AHMEDABAD

The Gujarat High Court on Friday granted bail to Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel in two sedition cases filed by the Surat and Ahmedabad police. But the court ordered him to stay outside the State for six months and submit his passport to the authorities.

But the 23-year-old leader will not be released immediately as another case, of vandalising an MLA’s office, is pending. His bail application will be decided on Monday.

“I always had faith in the judiciary. The agitation will continue and we will decide the next course after coming out of jail,” Mr. Patel said.

‘Victory for Patidars’

Members of the Patidar community burst crackers in several parts of the State to celebrate the order.

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) spokesman Varun Patel said: “It’s a victory for the Patidar community.” He criticised Chief Minister Anandiben Patel for “foisting sedition cases on agitation leaders.”

Gujarat BJP president and Cabinet Minister Vijay Rupani said the State had not opposed the bail petition.

Mr. Patel was first arrested by the Surat police after a video, in which he is allegedly heard telling a distressed Patel youth to kill “a few policemen instead of committing suicide,” went viral.

Later, the Ahmedabad police arrested him and his top aides and charged them with sedition. They were accused of trying to topple the State government through violence.

Mr. Patel floated the PAAS in July 2015 to demand a quota in education and government jobs for Patidars, an upper caste.

Violence post rally

After a rally in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015, in which lakhs of the community members participated, the crowd turned violent and a dozen persons were killed in police firing. A constable was killed in clashes in Surat. The government had to impose curfew, and the Army was called in to restore peace.

During the two-day violence, more than 200 buses were torched and several police pickets vandalised. The police had to shut down mobile-based internet services in order to prevent rumours and mass messages on social media platforms.

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