SURAT: Gujarat police on Saturday detained Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel along with 35 of his supporters from Varachha area of Surat for trying to take out the ‘Ekta Yatra’ without taking prior permission from authorities.
“We detained Hardik Patel along with his 35 supporters from Mangadh chowk in Varachha area of the city ahead of their rally today,” Surat police commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
“They were detained in the interest of law and order as they did not seek any permission from the state authorities to take out this rally,” added Asthana.
Hardik and others were taken to police headquarters after the detention, he said.
All internet services have been suspended for 24 hours in Surat.
Speaking to reporters condemning the police action, the 22-year-old firebrand leader said, “The Gujarat government wants to muzzle our voice. They want to harass us. The Gujarat government and the state police wants violence in the state. This act is against the spirit of democracy.”
Hardik had till Friday kept his plans secret about the “Ekta rally” after being denied permission to hold it from Dandi to Ahmedabad.
Earlier on Saturday, Hardik’s associate and the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in Surat – Alpesh Kathiria – announced that they will take out the rally from Mangadh chowk in Varachha area of the city.
Hardik, who has emerged as the prominent face of Patels in Gujarat, has been spearheading the agitation to get reservation for Patel community under other backward class (OBC).
“We have denied permission to (Hardik Patel) to take out the rally tomorrow in the larger interest of law and order situation,” Navsari district collector R M Muthudath said.
In past two weeks, Hardik had announced to take out the “reverse Dandi March” twice, but canceled the plan after Navsari district administration denied permission to them.
Hardik has been hogging limelight after his aggressive speech in a rally on August 25 and the subsequent violence that gripped the state after his detention which left 10 people dead in Gujarat.