Crackdown On 2015 Quota Protests Was Like Jallianwala Bagh: Hardik Patel

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The mega rally at the GMDC Ground, which was addressed by Hardik Patel, had triggered widespread violence

Ahmedabad:

The police lathi-charge on the agitators demanding reservation for the Patidar community in Gujarat's Ahmedabad in August, 2015 was akin to the brutal British era "Jallianwala Bagh" episode, quota agitation leader Hardik Patel told a court in Ahmedabad today.

Hardik Patel deposed as a witness in a private complaint filed in a metropolitan court against the police action on the agitators at the GMDC Ground here over three years ago.

In his deposition before Metropolitan Magistrate NP Radia, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader narrated the incidents leading up to the police action, against which the complaint was filed in the court.

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The 25-year-old Patidar quota agitation spearhead said he had addressed a large gathering at the ground on August 25, 2015 to push for reservation for the Patidar community.

Mr Patel said he later sat on a dharna with the demand that then chief minister Anandiben Patel accept a memorandum from him demanding reservation for Patidars in government jobs and educational institutions.

He said he also went to the collector's office to submit the memorandum, but came back to the ground as the collector was not in his office.

"Around 8 pm, there were around 2,000 people at the ground. What happened around that time (the police lathi-charge) was no less than the Jallianwala Bagh incident," Mr Patel said.

An environment of fear was created even as the police began lathicharging the young protesters and abusing them, he claimed.

The court had earlier ordered an inquiry into the August, 2015 lathicharge on the Patidar community agitators under section 202 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) on a complaint filed by one Haresh Mehta.

The complainant has accused the then Ahmedabad police commissioner Shivanand Jha, Vastrapur inspector M S Shaikh, assistant commissioner of police J M Patel, additional commissioner of police R R Bhagat, among other police officials, of resorting to "unnecessary and illegal action".

Mr Jha is now the Gujarat director general of police (DGP).

The mega rally at the GMDC Ground, which was addressed by Hardik Patel, had triggered widespread violence, in which 13 people were killed and public property worth crores of rupees was damaged across Gujarat.

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