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SC files notice to Gujarat govt on Hardik Patel plea against sedition charge

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New Delhi: The Supreme Court on Tuesday sought a response from the Gujarat government on the plea by Hardik Patel, who is leading an agitation seeking reservation for Patidar community, challenging the state high court order refusing to quash sedition charge invoked against him and other stir leaders for allegedly attacking places including police stations.

Issuing notice to Gujarat government, a bench of Justice Jagdish Singh Khehar and Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman directed the hearing of the matter on January 5 when the court is going to take up another similar plea by the Patel quota agitation leader.

Appearing for Hardik Patel, senior counsel Kapil Sibal said that his client could not be charged under sedition as there was no conspiracy to wage a war against the government. At best the case against Hardik Patel could be that of using “intemperate language” and the same could be tried under the different penal provision.

Contending that mere words were not enough to attract the charge of sedition unless there was some act to match them, Sibal said that there was “nothing to show” that he was challenging the state, and the whole movement was for seeking reservation for Patidar community.

Opposing the plea by the Patel leader, Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi told the court that one could not contend that there was no criminality when the judiciary, police, police stations and politicians were being targeted in the state.

Scores of police stations across the state were torched. One district judge was attacked. The house of home minister was attacked. We have come to know about all this by tapping the phones…,

The Gujarat High Court had on December 1 dropped the treason charge against Hardik Patel but refused to quash the sedition charge.

The state police, in October, lodged the second case against Patidar leader and his five aides. (IANS)

(Picture Courtesy: india.com)

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New caste group surfaces to counter Patels in Gujarat

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Ahmedabad: To counter liquor addiction in dry Gujarat, a group of OBCs, SCs and STs  held a show of strength under the banner of OSS Ekta Manch, telling the Gujarat government that it had not done enough for socially and economically backward people caught under the whip of illicit liquor and deprivation.

Starting as a trickle, the Vyasan Mukti rally grew into a huge gathering at the sprawling GMDC Grounds at here, with its spearhead Alpesh Thakore, who is his in 30s, claiming it was not a political show but one that aimed at bringing together deprived sections of Gujarat on a single platform for their rights.

“This is a rally to fight addiction indeed, but also for empowerment and unity of people neglected in Gujarat. Though dispersed without a support structure, the OBCs are aggressive here, and if the Thakore community opens a third eye, it could be lethal,” said Thakore, whose Thakore Ekta Sena has been quietly working in rural Gujarat for years.

Interestingly, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel wished well to the rally, as did Hardik Patel, the convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which is demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the OBC category.

The rally had a conglomeration of other backward classes with a majority of Thakore and Kshatriya communities joined by Dalits and tribals.

“We are not with the BJP or the Congress, but wish progress for the OBCs,” declared Thakore, a few months after a similar claim by Hardik Patel, whose father Bharat Patel is a BJP worker.

In his speech that lasted about half an hour, Thakore read out a pledge for the audience to fight addiction and come together to create a social and economic muscle that no one can ignore – like successive rulers have so far have.

“Social space, strong health and educational growth will be the result of de-addiction. If we have this no political party in Gujarat can give us the short shrift that we have been getting,” he said.

“This is the clarion call to you and this is my message to the political class in Gujarat,” he said to widespread applause.

Coming exactly four months after a massive caste rally at the same location by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the OBC category disrupted the political firmament, the OSS Ekta Manch gave out a strong message that they also intend to become a force in state politics.

With Patel and now Thakore, a new socio-political order is seen to be emerging in Gujarat with voices that political parties would ignore at their peril.

Political analysts like Vidyut Joshi and Achyut Yagnik say the major reason for this is that neither Patel nor Thakore are believed to have personal political ambitions, and so their support bases see them as genuine.

The new grouping can emerge as the counter to the Patel community, the youth of which has got together under the leadership of Patel, 23, over the past months – and sent the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party into a panic.

After nearly three decades, the BJP faced an unexpected debacle in the local self-government bodies, with a major role in this outcome of the Patel community, which had otherwise been the backbone of the party’s political strength in the state.(IANS)

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Hardik Patel files fresh bail applications

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Ahmedabad: Hardik Patel, leader of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) filed fresh bail applications in Gujarat courts on Saturday against his two cases for sedition by the state police.

Hardik Patel, who has been running an agitation demanding reservation for high caste Patels in jobs and education under the Other Backward Class (OBC) category for last four months, moved the court of Additional Sessions Judge NG Dave through his lawyer Rafiq Lokhandwala in Ahmedabad.

The agitation for reservation cannot be said to be unlawful in any manner, the bail application states.

His lawyer contends that the sedition charge running into 2,700 pages is false, frivolous, fabricated and politically motivated to suppress the agitation.

Patel has filed another application in Surat, where he faces a sedition case with a chargesheet of 370 pages, in the court of Principal Sessions Judge Gita Gopi.

Making a similar contention as in Ahmedabad, his lawyer Yashwantsinh Vala has argued in Surat that Patel was being framed for political motives.

Hardik Patel lodged  the application in Lajpore jail in Surat district.

Both the applications will come up for hearing shortly.

Hardik Patel and five others are charged under Sections 124 (A) for sedition, 121 (A) for conspiracy to wage war against the government and 120 (b) for criminal conspiracy.(IANS)

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Gujarat HC judge removes objectionable remarks about quota

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Gandhinagar: Gujarat High Court judge, Justice JB Pardiwala, against whom Rajya Sabha MPs have submitted a motion of impeachment for his “unconstitutional” remarks on reservation, removed his allegedly objectionable remarks

Justice Pardiwala had made the remarks while refusing to remove the sedition charges against Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti convener Hardik Patel.

In an observation during the hearing, he had said: “If I am asked by anyone to name two things, which has destroyed this country or rather, has not allowed the country, to progress in the right direction, then the same is – Reservation and Corruption. It is very shameful for any citizen of this country to ask for reservation after 65 years of independence. When our Constitution was framed, it was understood that the reservation would remain for a period of 10 years, but unfortunately, it has continued even after 65 years of independence. The biggest threats, today, for the country is corruption.”

“The countrymen should rise and fight against corruption at all levels, rather than shedding blood and indulging in violence for the reservation,” the judge said, “adding that the reservation has only played the role of an amoeboid monster sowing seeds of discord amongst the people.

His previous remarks had reflected his thoughts on this matter:

The importance of merit, in any society, cannot be understated. The merit stands for a positive goal and when looked at instrumentally, stands for ‘rewarding those actions that are considered good’. Then, this instrumental nature of merit that should be given importance – emphasizing on and rewarding merit is a means towards achieving what is regarded as good in the society. The parody of the situation is that India must be the only country wherein some of the citizens crave to be called backward.

However, he has now removed these remarks from the order. (IANS) (Picture Courtesy:www.dnaindia.com)