Quota stir: Gujarat HC reserves order on 2nd sedition FIR against Hardik Patel

Ahmedabad: The Gujarat High Court on Monday reserved its order after hearing arguments on a plea of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and five others seeking quashing of FIR against them by city Crime Branch on stringent charges of sedition and waging war against government.

During the arguments in the court of Justice JB Pardiwala, public prosecutor Mitesh Amin strongly defended the stand of Crime Branch in slapping stringent charges against Hardik and five other quota leaders — Ketan Patel, Chirag Patel, Dinesh Patel, Alpesh Kathiriya and Amrish Patel.

According to Amin, the FIR against them is based on call interceptions made by Crime Branch. In all, the Crime Branch has recorded more than 200 such calls made by these Patel leaders between July and September this year, he said.

Amin alleged that the conversations were of “very caustic” in nature, such as the accused could be heard asking their supporters to torch police chowkies, dislodge railway tracks and murder policemen.

These conversations were made as part of an attempt to topple the government, the prosecutor argued.

Apart from the calls, police learnt that as many as 35 lakh messages, urging the community to resort to violence, were sent using social media platform immediately after Hardik was detained by police on the night of August 25.

Amin submitted that the fallout of such communication was the statewide violence, which claimed seven lives, including that of a policeman.

In the FIR filed on October 21, Patel leaders are charged under 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).