Police detain, release Hardik later

Police detain, release Hardik later

The Gujarat Police on Saturday detained Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel and later released him.

The Gujarat Police on Saturday detained Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel, his aide and Congress legislator from Dhoraji-Upleta of Rajkot district Lalit Vasoya, when they tried to carry out the threat of immersing themselves in river waters.

Vasoya had threatened to take “jal samadhi” (self-immersion in water) in the Bhadar River of Rajkot district, stating that textile dyeing and printing units in nearby Jetpur region were polluting the river with untreated effluents.

This, he claims, in turn pollutes Bhadar 2 dam that supplies drinking water to over 400 villages in the region, leading to multiple diseases including cancer.

“I know that threatening self-immersion or suicide is wrong but I have been petitioning the state government at various fora, including pollution control board and even the governor on the issue and there has been no respite. It is an issue of people of the state. What do you want me to do?” Lalit Vasoya said.

The police detained both the leaders after they had addressed a rally at the site and were proceeding towards the Bhadar 2 dam to carry out their threat. They were later released.

“Several industrialists tried to bribe us and offered up to a crore of rupees to not press the issue. It is a serious issue concerning people and over five lakh people have been affected by polluted water. In a particular village Bhookhi, over 70 persons have contracted cancer. When will government wake up,” Hardik told reporters.

The ruling party, however, hit back at the agitators, stating that it was nothing but a “drama” by the Opposition. “If they have an issue, they must speak to the government. They are just interested in drama and people are laughing at them. From Nehru to Rahul Gandhi, it is legacy of the Congress to speak falsehood. The people have seen through this,” Jitu Vaghani, BJP state president said. “Let them carry on with their drama.”

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