Hardik Patel fears new arrest over 2015 Ahmedabad rally

After a week in jail, Congress leader Hardik Patel fears fresh arrest over 2015 Ahmedabad rally

Hardik has moved before a sessions court which issued notice to police and kept the matter for hearing on January 30.

After spending nearly a week in jail last week, Congress leader Hardik Patel is apprehending fresh arrest in a case lodged in 2015 during the massive rally which was taken out in Ahmedabad demanding reservation for Patidar community. Hardik was then convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) which was spearheading the agitation.

Hardik has moved before a sessions court which issued notice to police and kept the matter for hearing on January 30. The 26 years old Congress leader has stated in his petition, "applicant (Hardik) has been victimised by the ruling party of the state by slapping several false, frivolous and concocted cases against him... due to political pressure, the police for the last few days have been visiting the house of the present applicant to arrest him..."

He has claimed that despite his name not in the first information report (FIR) and the violence that broke out on that day, the police want to arrest him. The case against Hardik was registered at Vastrapur police station on August 25, 2015, the day when he led the massive rally at GMDC ground in Ahmedabad to demand Patidar community be kept in reserved category for benefits of government jobs and education.

The FIR alleges that the rally was unlawful which led to violence at night due to provocation by Hardik and his other associates. As a matter of fact, Hardik was forcibly taken away by the local police that night following which violence erupted in several cities. Over the next week, nearly a dozen youths from Patidar community died in the violence. 

Later, Hardik was booked in two separate sedition cases lodged in Ahmedabad and Surat. He was arrested and remained in jail for nearly nine months. During 2017 assembly election, he joined Congress in the presence of party's ex-president Rahul Gandhi among other big leaders.

Although he couldn't contest election due to his conviction in a rioting case, Hardik Patel has been active in the state holding close and public meetings. "He is the only leader in the party who is trying to reach out to people silently and really working hard," said a Congress leader.