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Hardik Patel Gets Two-Year Jail Term in Visnagar Rioting Case

Hardik Patel is one of the accused in the FIR which was filed at Visnagar in Mehsana district on July 23, 2015, when a rally of the Patel community seeking reservation turned violent, resulting in damage to property and assault on some media persons.

Meghdoot Sharon | CNN-News18

Updated:July 25, 2018, 6:02 PM IST
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Hardik Patel Gets Two-Year Jail Term in Visnagar Rioting Case
File photo of Hardik Patel (Getty Images)
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Mehsana (Gujarat): A Gujarat court sentenced Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel to two years imprisonment in a case of rioting and arson in Visnagar town here in 2015. This is the first case where he has had to face conviction.

Hardik Patel, who heads the Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti, was sentenced to jail along with Sardar Patel Group convener Lalji Patel and Patidar reservation stir leader A K Patel. Fourteen others however, were acquitted. All three who were convicted were granted bail within a few minutes of their sentencing and are expected to file an appeal against their conviction. The lower court has granted them time until August 25 to appeal in the Gujarat High Court.

Judge V P Agarwal, of the sessions court at Visnagar, held Patel and his two aides guilty. The three were awarded two years imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 50,000 each.

Hardik Patel is one of the accused in the FIR which was filed at Visnagar in Mehsana district on July 23, 2015, when a rally of the Patel community seeking reservation turned violent, resulting in damage to property and assault on some media persons.

During the violent agitation, the mob had torched a car and vandalised the office of local BJP MLA Rishikesh Patel.

The 25-year old firebrand Patidar leader, in a series of tweets after his conviction stated that a challenge has to be met by rising higher above it. “If fighting for social justice and social rights is a crime, then I am a criminal. If fighting for the truth and our rights makes me an outlaw, then so be it. The BJP government cannot silence my voice for talking about the rights of youth, farmers and the poor.”

Taking a dig at the BJP government in the state, Hardik stated that the government announced amid much fanfare that cases against Patidars filed during the reservation agitation have been withdrawn. “If that is the case, for which crime have I been convicted today. If it was about me as a person, I would have quietly sat at home, but it is the question of the rights of crores of poor people,” he tweeted.

He said, "It is shocking that I have been convicted in the Visnagar case. I had left the spot and reached Bahuchraji when I got to know that the Visnagar incident had happened. I was not even present at the spot when the incident took place. This appears to be an attempt to scare and intimidate me, but let the BJP leaders know that they are wrong." He added that there was no change to the August 25 Vijay Sankalp fast programme.
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