Firebrand quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel, whose reservation stir has roiled Gujarat, was on Monday arrested twice, first on the charge of insulting the national flag and the second time on the serious charge of sedition.
The 22-year-old commerce graduate, detained yesterday by Rajkot Rural Police ahead of the India-South Africa ODI which he had threatened to disrupt, was arrested this morning for allegedly insulting the national flag.
Just after he was granted bail in the evening by a Rajkot Court, Surat Police arrested him on sedition charge for allegedly instigating a Patel community youth to kill policemen instead of committing suicide.
“A team of Surat Crime Branch has arrested Hardik from Rajkot and bringing him to the city. We have lodged a complaint of sedition against him in Amroli Police Station,” Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
“We checked all the relevant video footage, which clearly suggested that Hardik did commit an offence of insulting the national flag. Thus, police lodged an FIR against Hardik at Paddhari Police Station today after which we have arrested him,” Rajkot-Rural Superintendent of Police Gagandeep Gambhir said earlier in the day.
Rajkot Police produced Hardik before a Magisterial Court. After hearing the arguments, Judicial Magistrate A S Kherjawala granted him bail on a Rs 10,000 bond. He was then taken into custody in the sedition case.
“We had filed a case of sedition against Hardik for his October 3 comments telling his friends to kill policemen,” Surat DCP Makrand Chauhan, the complainant in the case, said.
The quota stir leader was booked under Section 124(A) of IPC. A person convicted of sedition faces a minimum jail term of three years, while the maximum punishment is life sentence.
The Section reads, “whoever, by words, either spoken or written..brings hatred or contempt, or excites disaffection towards the Government shall be punishable with imprisonment for life…or with minimum imprisonment up to three years.”
Other IPC Sections included in the FIR against Hardik are 115 (Abetment of offence), 153-A (promoting enmity between different groups, 505-2 (incite one community against another) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
The fiery leader had allegedly advised a youth from his community to kill policemen rather than ending his own life.