Hardik Patel held guilty of rioting as part of quota agitation

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Hardik Patel, who led the 2015 agitations by Patels seeking reservation in government jobs and higher education, has been found guilty by a trial court in a case filed by a BJP leader.

He has been held guilty in the case of vandalizing the office of BJP legislator Rushikesh Patel in Visnagar three years ago.

Out of the 17 accused in the case, 3 were held guilty and 14 were let off by the court. Besides Hardik, SPG President Lalji Patel and AK Patel have also been reported to be held guilty.

Patel was booked last year after a BJP councillor from Ramol in Ahmedabad complained to the police, alleging that the protesters had entered into the compound of BJP leader Paresh Patel.

Similar cases are also pending against him and his associates for forcing entry or destroying public property in other police stations.

Section 147 of the IPC prescribes a punishment of up to two years for rioting.

Patel has maintained that the actions against him are part of political vendetta on the part of the ruling BJP party.

Any arrest is likely to put him back in the spotlight ahead of the 2019 general elections, and could lead to sympathy being generated in his favor among the Patels, who form the backbone of BJP’s support base in Gujarat.

Hardik Patel faces more than one case related to the 2015 Patidar agitation that saw massive crowds come out on to the streets of Gujarat to demand reservation for the community.

Besides rioting, the young leader has also been prosecuted for sedition for allegedly urging his followers to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.

Patel formed the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) which claim itself as an apolitical organization that aims to get Patidars included in the OBC quota.

He is currently out on bail.

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