Hardik gets bail in sedition cases, told to stay out of Gujarat for 6 months

Our Bureau  | | Updated on: Jan 17, 2018


The Gujarat High Court on Friday granted bail to Patidar (Patel) pro-reservation agitation leader Hardik Patel in two sedition cases slapped by the State Government on the condition that he would have to stay out of Gujarat for six months.

Jailed nine months ago, he would, however, not be released soon as the court will, on July 11, hear another case against him wherein he was accused of vandalising an MLA’s office. The 22-year-old, who led a violent agitation of the socially, politically and economically powerful Patidar community in various districts of Gujarat last year, demanding reservation in government jobs and education, has multiple cases slapped against him. Currently, he is incarcerated in a Surat jail on a sedition case.

In the last hearing of the sedition case, Hardik had informed the High Court that, if granted bail, he was ready to leave Gujarat for six months in the cases filed in Surat and Ahmedabad in connection with the incidents during the agitation. However, Mitesh Amin, government lawyer, had told the court of Justice A J Desai that the accused, if released on bail, could indulge in activities that could jeopardise law and order and peace.

But Hardik’s counsel, Zubin Bharda, assured the court that, if granted bail, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader was ready to move outside the state for six months and refrain from any such activity that could breach the peace. He also referred to Hardik’s written assurance of May 3 to the court that, on getting bail, he would run his agitation in a peaceful and democratic manner. But this was rejected the very next day (May 4) by the state government.

Hardik faces two cases of sedition in Surat and Ahmedabad, respectively. In one of these cases lodged in October 2015 in Surat district, he was charged with advising Vipul Desai (a co-accused in the case) to kill a policeman rather than commit suicide out of frustration due to the prevailing reservation policy. He was arrested soon after from Rajkot and has been lodged in Surat’s Lajpore Central Jail since then. Two of his co-accused in the case, Chirag Desai and Vipul Desai, got bail later.

Another case of sedition was lodged against Hardik and five others (including Chirag, Ketan and Dinesh Patel) by the crime branch of Ahmedabad police for his alleged involvement and conspiring to spread violence across Gujarat via a pro-reservation rally held here on August 25. The three co-accused got conditional bail from the High Court after a no-objection from the state on their undertaking to not participate in the agitation. However, his bail pleas were rejected by lower courts in Surat and Ahmedabad.

Notably, in order to cool down the Patidars, the State Government later announced 10 per cent reservation in jobs to all economically-weaker sections. But the Patidars rejected the move, which is also unlikely to be accepted by the courts.

Published on July 08, 2016
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