Hardik, Aides Get Two-Year Jail Term In Visnagar Rioting Case
A Gujarat court sentenced Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel to two years imprisonment in a case of rioting and arson in Gujarat’s Visnagar town in 2015.
Later, Hardik Patel and his two aides—Lalji Patel and A K Patel—were granted bail by the same court.
Judge VP Agarwal of the sessions court in Visnagar held Hardik Patel and his two aides guilty under IPC sections pertaining to rioting, arson, damage to property and unlawful assembly.
The three were awarded two years of imprisonment along with a fine of Rs 50,000 each. The other 14 accused were let off by the court for want of sufficient evidence against them.
From the penalty collection of Rs 1,50,000, the court ordered that Rs 10,000 be given to television channel reporter Suresh Vanol, Rs 1 lakh to the owner of a car torched by the mob during the violence and Rs 40,000 to local Bharatiya Janata Party MLA, Rishikesh Patel, towards damage caused to his property.
During the violent agitation, the mob had torched a car and vandalised the office of the MLA.
Hardik Patel is one of the accused in the FIR which was filed in Visnagar in Gujarat’s Mehsana district on July 23, 2015, when a rally of the Patel community seeking reservation turned violent. The rally resulted in damage to property and assault on a few media persons.
A rally of more than 25,000 people of the Patel community demanding reservation was then at the initial stage of quota movement in Gujarat. At that time, Hardik Patel was not a known figure and was one of the foot soldiers of Lalji Patel, who is the president of the Sardar Patel Group, a quota agitation body.
The rally in Visnagar was the first prominent event of the quota movement and that is when Hardik Patel came into limelight.
According to the case details, when the rally reached near the office of MLA Patel, some Patidar community members tried to meet him to hand over a memorandum of their demands. However, when they did not find the MLA in his office, they got angry and ransacked his office.
It was also alleged that protesters had torched a car parked on a road in the area. Some media persons were also attacked by the mob at that time.
The complainant in the case was a television channel reporter Vanol, who was brutally thrashed by those present in the rally.