Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel was arrested on Tuesday on his way to violence-hit Mandsaur to meet with the kin of farmers who were killed in police firing last week. Patel was picked by the police from Nayagaon in Neemuch along with Janata Dal (U) leader Akhilesh Katiyar who was also placed under arrest.
Speaking to news agency PTI, City Superintendent of Police Abhishek Diwan said Patel was arrested to prevent commission of cognizable offences. He added the two leaders were later released on bail and transported out of the state in police vehicles. After his release, Patel lashed out on authorities saying as an Indian citizen he had the right to go anywhere. “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 said. He criticised the BJP-led NDA government and said 50 crore farmers have risen against the saffron party.
The farmers’ groups launched a protest in the state on June 1, seeking waiver of loans and higher prices of seeds among several other demands. The protests took an ugly turn after six farmers were killed in police firing on June 6 in Mandsaur, leading to pitched clashes between police and protesters who resorted to violence and vandalism. Just last week, the police had arrested Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi on his way to Mandsaur to meet with the relatives of the farmers who were killed.
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan sat on an indefinite fast on Saturday, appealing for peace in the state. He ended his fast a day later, saying peace has returned to the state. He also said those responsible for the deaths of farmers in Mandsaur will be brought to book.
(With inputs from PTI)