Patidar leader Hardik Patel was arrested by Rajkot Police on Monday for allegedly insulting the national flag and later taken into custody by Surat Police to probe charges of sedition after he purportedly told a member of his community to kill policemen.
The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader was booked for insulting the Tricolour in a case registered in Rajkot, where he was detained briefly for trying to disrupt the one-day international (ODI) match between India and South Africa on Sunday.
Minutes before the match started, as police tried to detain him, Hardik climbed on to the roof of his car and started waving the Tricolour. With mediapersons trying to reach him and police jostling to catch him, the 22-year-old wound up the Tricolour and tried to fend them off.
“He wound the Tricolour up the wrong way and then swung the stick around to keep police and people away,” police sub-inspector P G Rohadiya stated in a complaint, based on which the FIR was filed.
Then, after he was released on bail by a magisterial court, Hardik was taken into custody by Surat Police, based on a complaint lodged by DCP Markand Chauhan.
The sedition charge is based on a video clip broadcast by a local TV news channel in which Hardik is purportedly shown talking to Vipul Desai, an RTI activist and businessman, who had threatened to commit suicide in a note he had handed over to the police on September 28.
The clip purportedly shows Hardik telling Desai at his home in Surat on October 3: “Kill two-five policemen, not yourself.”
DCP Chauhan said in his complaint that the police department came under the Gujarat government and Hardik’s statement challenged the state.
“His statement is to undertake a revolt against the police department. The advice given by Hardik Patel to Vipul is provocative and creates division in society with other castes and the police department. This will damage peace and harmony in the society,” states the complaint.
Surat Police said the complaint was lodged after the video clip was verified as genuine, sources said.
Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthaana said: “We will carry out all legal procedures and take his police remand on Tuesday.”
Surat PAAS convenor Alpesh Katheriya said: “We will challenge the complaint in Gujarat High Court. We have obtained a copy of the police complaint and forwarded it to our legal team. At present, we cannot comment further on this issue.”