Updated: September 24, 2015 10:12:45 am
Following hours of drama during which he disappeared, surfaced and went missing again, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel finally reached Ahmedabad late Wednesday night and claimed he had been “abducted by people who looked like policemen”. He also alleged this was done to “prevent me from going to Bihar”.
Accompanied by his lawyer, Hardik claimed his “abductors” warned him not to take the reservation stir any further, else he “will be killed”. He said that on Thursday morning, he will narrate his ordeal before the Gujarat High Court, where a habeas corpus petition was filed following his disappearance late Tuesday night.
“I tried to run away from Tenpur village not out of fear of arrest, but because of the consequences which might have followed my arrest. Besides, there were policemen standing right before me holding guns. The other motive that police probably had was to prevent me from going to Bihar,” Hardik said.
On Tuesday afternoon, 17 PAAS members were detained by police during a meeting in Tenpur village. During the crackdown, Hardik reportedly attempted to escape the police and, from 5 pm onwards, was reported “missing.”
Then, around 11.30 am Wednesday, Hardik surfaced on a highway in Surendranagar district.
“Around 11:30 am, (PAAS leader) Ketan Patel got a call from Hardik, who said he was dropped at Dhrangadhra highway by the police. When senior lawyer B M Mangukia and I tried to meet Hardik, we were detained,” claimed Hardik aide Dinesh Bhambhaniya.
By 2 pm, Hardik was giving telephonic interviews to local news channels, saying he was abducted and held at gunpoint in a moving car. However, in the evening, Gandhinagar IGP Hasmukh Patel again said Hardik was “still not traceable”.
A few hours later, Hardik was in Ahmedabad, telling a press gathering, “Those who picked me up kept threatening me that if I don’t withdraw the agitation they will kill me.”
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