Police pick up Hardik from home to foil his protest fast

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Ahmedabad, Aug 19 (IANS) The Gujarat Crime Branch on Sunday detained firebrand Patidar agitation spearhead Hardik Patel from his residence, hours before he could undertake a days token fast atop vehicles in Nikol industrial suburb here.

He was to hold the day-long dharna in protest against the government not giving him permission for his indefinite fast demanding reservation for his community in government jobs and educational institutions under OBC quota and loan waiver to farmers.

Patel had vowed to re-launch his agitation that had lost steam after the December Assembly elections on August 25, the same day in 2015 and at the same venue, GMDC Grounds in Ahmedabad, when he addressed a mammoth public rally.

A posse of police force swooped down at Patel’s Ahmedabad residence in the morning and after a scuffle whisked him and several of his supporters away to the Ahmedabad Crime Branch.

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Along with him, the police also detained his close associates Manoj Panara, Alpesh Kathiriya and Dharmesh Malviya.

The police claimed that Hardik Patel was planning to hold the fast without any official permission. Patel had earlier announced he would sit atop parked vehicles in Nikol. The police have registered cases against him under IPC section 144 and 189.

The action sparked off a chain of statewide protests from the Patidar community who have threatened to disrupt the programmes of Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 23 if Patel was denied permission to begin his indefinite fast from August 25 at the GMDC Grounds in Ahmedabad.

Angry Patidars staged roadblocks at various places across the state and police had to intervene to disperse them.

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Meanwhile, Gujarat Pradesh Congress President Amit Chavda and Leader of Opposition Paresh Dhanani condemned the police action against Hardik Patel.

–IANS

desai/mr

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