Hardik Patel, who had led a mass agitation seeking reservation for Patidars in Gujarat in 2015, was arrested on Tuesday in Madhya Pradesh when he was heading to Mandsaur to meet the family of the farmers killed in alleged police firing last week.
As per an ANI tweet, the activist was detained in Neemuch:
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 13, 2017
Neemuch superintendent of police Abhishek Diwan said Patel was arrested from Nayagaon in Neemuch to prevent the commission of cognisable offences. The Patidar andolan leader was accompanied by Janata Dal(United) leader Akhilesh Katiyar, who was also placed under arrest. The two, however, were released on bail later and transported out of Madhya Pradesh in police vehicles, Diwan added.
Lashing out on authorities after his arrest, Patel said, "I am not a terrorist. I have not come from Lahore. I am an Indian citizen and have the right to go anywhere in the country." He also criticised the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre and said that 50 crore farmers have come together against the saffron party.
"Hardik Patel neither sought permission to visit Mandsaur nor was he allowed by the administration. That's why, he was not allowed to go to Mandsaur," district magistrate OP Shrivastava said. To meet the family members of the deceased farmers, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan will be visiting Mandsaur tomorrow, as per ANI :
The chief minister on Monday announced a few declarations for the benefit of the farmers. One declaration being: "purchase of any farm produce below the minimum support would be considered a criminal act," as reported by Times Now.
According to officials, the chief minister is also expected to meet the farmer leaders.
Hardik Patel reportedly said the Patidar community in Gujarat and Rajasthan supports the farmers in Madhya Pradesh, according to PTI. When Patel was questioned about what would happen if he was stopped, he said: "I will do my work and police and administration will do their job," as per PTI. Patel had spent six months in exile in Udaipur after a Gujarat High Court order. Patel then returned to his hometown of Gujarat in January 2017.
During this time, he was staying at a former Congress MLA's house. In July last year, he was released from jail in Gujarat after being confined for nine months, according to the report.
Prior to Patel's detention, other activists were also detained from entering Mandsaur.
As per a previous Firstpost report, Yogendra Yadav, social activists Medha Patkar and Swami Agnivesh, and JNUSU (Jawaharlal Nehru University Students' Union) president Mohit Kumar Pandey were stopped on Sunday from entering Mandsaur.
Thereafter, Pandey along with from various farmers' outfits across the country sat on protest on the Mhow-Neemuch Highway. Following this protest, a total of 30 activists were stopped by the police at the Dhodhar toll plaza.
The activists were visiting Mandsaur to meet the families of the five persons killed in police firing. The police said that the activists' visit could disturb peace in the area.
Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi was detained on his way to Mandsaur to meet the family members of the farmers killed in police firing, as per PTI.
With inputs from PTI
Updated Date: Jun 13, 2017 14:14 PM