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Patel quota agitation: No relief for Hardik Patel as court rejects bail in sedition case

The bail plea of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel, who is behind bars in a sedition case for allegedly inciting a fellow activist to kill policemen instead of committing suicide, was on Thursday rejected by a district and sessions court.

Principal District Judge Geeta Gopi dismissed the bail plea of the 22-year-old firebrand leader, who spearheaded the agitation demanding reservation for the Patel community under the OBC category.

Two sedition complaints were filed against Hardik, the first one in Surat and another in Ahmedabad.

On November 16, Hardik, who is lodged in Lajpore jail here, moved his bail plea before the sessions court, claiming that he was booked under false charges, as mere spoken words do not amount to sedition.

The plea said the state government deliberately slapped false charges on him to keep him away from the recently-held local bodies polls across the state.

The Surat police had arrested Hardik in October on charges of sedition for allegedly inciting a fellow activist Vipul Desai ‘to kill policemen instead of committing suicide’.

Later, Ahmedabad crime branch also invoked sedition charge against him through a separate FIR filed on October 21 for allegedly inciting Patel youths to resort to violence in order to destabilise the state government.

During the arguments on December 7, the Surat city police had opposed bail to Hardik, claiming that he may tamper with evidence if released on bail when the investigation is still on against him.

The prosecution also argued that there is high possibility that Hardik will not cooperate in investigation once released on bail.

Hardik has also filed a bail plea before an Ahmedabad court in the second sedition case filed against him, where the order is likely to be pronounced tomorrow.

In the second case filed in Ahmedabad, the Gujarat High Court had recently dropped IPC sections 121 – pertaining to waging war against the government, 153(A) – promoting enmity between different communities and 153 (B) – assertions pre-judicial to national integrity, on the FIR against Hardik while retaining the charge of sedition.

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