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Second sedition case against quota agitation leader Hardik Patel

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Ahmedabad: A fresh case of sedition was on Wednesday filed against Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and five others by the crime branch which also arrested two of his aides, even as the Gujarat High Court asked the government how a statement against police could amount to sedition.

Dinesh Patel and Chirag Patel of Patidar Anamant Andolan Samiti (PAAS) were arrested the city crime branch from outside the Gujarat High Court this evening when they stepped out of the court.

Surat police have already invoked the grave charge of sedition against Hardik, which he has challenged in the high court.

Hardik is currently in the custody of Surat police. The ACP said he may be arrested in the present case by seeking a transfer warrant.

In the case filed by Surat police, Hardik is accused of instigating a Patel youth to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.

In the FIR filed by the crime branch here today, the accused are charged with IPC sections 121 (waging war against the government), 124 (sedition — bringing hatred, contempt or disaffection towards the Government), 153-A (promoting enmity between different communities) and 153-B (assertions prejudicial to national integrity).

K N Patel, assistant commissioner of police, crime branch, who is the complainant in the second case, said, “We have been keeping a watch on them for the last three months. After the Patels’ mega rally at GMDC ground here on August 25, we found that the accused had incited the people to resort to violence. They made phone calls and used other media to incite people against the government,” the ACP said.

“Our surveillance suggested they had asked people in different parts of the state to set on fire police chowkies and public transport buses, hurl stones, attack houses of MLAs and even bomb the Assembly. They hatched a conspiracy to topple the government,” the police officer said.

The FIR names six office-bearers of PAAS including Hardik Patel, Dinesh Patel, Chirag Patel and Alpesh Patel.

Earlier in the day, hearing the petition filed by Hardik’s father Bharat Patel seeking to quash the sedition charge slapped against his son, Justice J B Pardiwala asked the public prosecutor Mitesh Amin to clarify how the charge was applicable in the case.

The judge also asked whether Hardik’s advise to kill policemen would attract section 153(a)(promoting enmity between different groups).

PTI