Hardik Patel arrested in Surat; mobile internet banned

Surat/Ahmedabad, Sept 19:  Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel was on Saturday night arrested in Surat for defying prohibitory orders even as Gujarat administration banned mobile Internet services across the state.

Hours after 22-year-old Hardik was detained by police along with 35 of his supporters ahead of his 'Ekta March', he was arrested. An FIR has been lodged against him for violation prohibitory orders, police said.

Also read: Release Hardik or face 'Jail Bharo' agitation: Patel Nav Nirman Sena

Hardik Patel arrested in Surat

Hardik's detention and later arrest led to vociferous protests by community members at some places. The state administration said the ban on mobile internet services in the state was to curb spread of rumours.

Hardik accused the state administration of muzzling the voice of Patidar community after his detention. Patel community members staged protests and tried to block roads at some places in Gujarat, police said.

"We detained Hardik Patel along with his 35 supporters from Mangadh chowk in Varachha area of the city ahead of their yatra today," Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said earlier in the day.

"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. Hardik and others were taken to police headquarters after the detention," he said.

Condemning the police action, the firebrand leader told reporters, "The Gujarat government wants to muzzle our voice. They want to harass us. The government and the state police wants violence in the state. This act is against the spirit of democracy."

Hardik had till yesterday kept his plans secret about the Ekta Yatra after being denied permission to hold it from Dandi to Ahmedabad.

Earlier in the day, Hardik's associate and the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in Surat- Alpesh Kathiria had announced that they will take out a rally from Mangadh chowk in Varachha area of the city.

"We have decided to ban mobile Internet service in the state to tackle the law and order situation and to curb rumours across Gujarat for an indefinite period," Director General of Police PC Thakur said.


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