Gujarat Police file sedition charge against Hardik

Surat: Gujarat Police on Friday filed a charge sheet in a Surat court against Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) convenor Hardik Patel on the charge of sedition.

The 379-page charge sheet has been filed against Patel for exhorting Vipul Desai to kill “four-five” policemen instead of thinking of committing suicide to press the demand of reservation for upper caste Patels in education institutes and government jobs under the Other Backward Committees (OBC) category.

Hardik Patel was slapped with the sedition charge days after he reportedly exhorted Desai in October in the presence of a local TV channel.

His father Bharat Patel challenged the sedition charge against Hardik on October 19 in the Gujarat High Court, which refused to accept his plea. He then moved the Supreme Court against the Gujarat court ruling.

The Supreme Court on Tuesday turned down his plea, allowing the Gujarat government to file a charge sheet against him in a court by Friday.

Hardik Patel was arrested by Surat police in October last year on sedition charge and for inciting violence, and has been lodged in Jalalpore Jail since then.

Hardik’s bail application also was rejected by the Gujarat High Court, following which he appealed to the Supreme Court, which directed Surat police to file a charge sheet by January 8.

In the 379-page charge sheet, the prosecution has produced call records from Hardik’s cell phone to his supporters, report of the forensic science laboratory about the veracity of these calls and statements of witnesses.

Hardik’s counsel Kapil Sibal had challenged the sedition charge, pointing out, among other things, that the young man’s remark was made on October 3 but the sedition charge was slapped 15 days later.

Sibal said nothing happened after Hardik’s statement and it did not create any public disorder, for which the charges were made.

Sibal said the rights of people should not be abridged by state authorities and there is no reason to slap sedition charges against Hardik who is just 22-year-old.

Hardik has also been charged under Sections 124 A and 115 of the Indian Penal Code which relate to sedition and inciting of violence. A similar case was also filed against him by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch.

The court has fixed January 11 for next hearing when Hardik would be given a copy of the charge sheet.