Sedition charges: Police’s action led to violence, argues Hardik Patel’s lawyer

Sedition charges: Police’s action led to violence, argues Hardik Patel’s lawyer

New Delhi: Arguing for his release on bail, the Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s lawyer on Thursday argued in the Gujarat High Court that the violence after the August 25 rally had happened because of the police’s use of force.

Hardik is facing sedition cases in Ahmedabad and Surat for inciting violence during the agitation last year.

Arguing before Justice AJ Desai, his lawyer Zubin Bharda said Hardik was fighting for his community and not against the government.

During the mammoth rally of Patel community at GMDC ground here last August, Hardik had appealed for maintaining peace many times but the use of force by the police led to the violence, he said. “Police resorted to lathi-charge. Charge-sheet states that public property was damaged at the GMDC ground which is not possible as the ground itself is empty,” he said.

Narendra Gadhvi, who submitted CD of speeches to the police implicating Hardik, was himself not present to hear them and had downloaded them from YouTube, Bharda said. “If speeches were seditious…then why did the police not initiate action to remove them (from YouTube)?” he said.

Hardik’s speech, in which he invoked Bhagat Singh, was misinterpreted by the police, he contended. “When we think of Bhagat Singh, we recall that he bombed the British but what Hardik meant was not bombing literally but symbolically bombing the government out of power through the ballot.”

According to the call intercepts cited by police in the charge sheet, Hardik likened himself to Bhagat Singh and said he had the guts to plant bombs in the Assembly. Advocate Bharda, however, said these conversations didn’t merit the sedition charge.