New Delhi: The face of Patidar agitation in Gujarat Hardik Patel was arrested outside Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district on Tuesday when he tried to meet the families of farmers who were killed in police firing last week during an agitation.
Talking to media persons at Nayagaon after his arrest Patel said. “I am not a terrorist. I have not come from Lahore. I am an Indian citizen and can go to any place in India freely. Members of my family have been killed and I came to meet their families.”
Patel was accompanied by Janata Dal (U) leader Akhilesh Katiyar. They both were picked by the police from Nayagaon in Neemuch. Later the duo was released on bail and transported out of Madhya Pradesh in police vehicles.
Last week, the police have arrested Congress Vice-President Rahul Gandhi while he was on his way to Mandsaur to meet the relatives of the farmers who were killed.
At least six farmers were killed in police firing on June 6 when they were demanding better prices in the drought-ravaged region that recorded a farm suicide every five hours in 2016-17.
Of the seven farmers who died in the recent violent agitations in Madhya Pradesh, five were Patidars.
Hardik Patel has grown into an influential Patidar leader after he led a mass agitation seeking reservation for Patidars in Gujarat in 2015. And since then he’s constantly built upon the anti-BJP sentiment among Patels or Patidars as they’re known in central and north-west part of the country.