Hardik Patel tells court won’t incite violence

Ahmedabad, May 3 (IANS) Jailed Patidar reservation spearhead Hardik Patel on Tuesday gave an undertaking to the Gujarat High Court that if granted bail he would not indulge in any activity to incite violence.

The undertaking comes close on the heels of a similar assurance given to court by his three associates who were released recently.

The high court was hearing Patel’s appeal against the rejection of his regular bail applications by different local courts of Surat and Ahmedabad in two sedition cases.

Unlike in the case of Patel’s three close associates of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), the state government sought time from the high court for its reply in this case with Justice A.D. Desai posting the hearing for Wednesday.

Hardik Patel’s counsel Zubin Bharda said in his undertaking that his client has stated that though the agitation of the Patidar Anamat Aandolan Samiti (PAAS) would continue peacefully in a democratic manner, if granted bail he would not do anything by act or by speech which may incite people or trigger violence.

Bharda said though the government has sought time to reply, it has been opposing tooth-and-nail Patel’s bail plea stating that his case was different than his aides Chirag, Ketan and Dinesh Patel. The three were released on bail recently on a written undertaking not to involve in any violent agitation.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) sources, meanwhile, indicated that the state government is unlikely to oppose Hardik Patel’s bail application in the wake of its announcement of 10 per cent reservation for economically weaker sections among the upper castes with a view to break the Patels’ agitation for quotas to the community.

Hardik Patel is facing two cases of sedition. One was lodged in Amroli police station of Surat district in October last year for his alleged suggestion in front of a television camera to a supporter to kill a policeman or two rather than committing suicide. He was arrested in the case in October from Rajkot and has been lodged in the Lajpore central jail of Surat since then. Two of his associates Chirag and Vipul Desai are out on bail in this case.

Another case of sedition was lodged against Hardik and five others, including Chirag, Ketan and Dinesh Patel, by the crime branch of Ahmedabad police for his alleged involvement and plotting of violence post a pro-reservation rally on August 25 here.

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