SURAT/AHMEDABAD: Hardik Patel, who is leading the Patel quota stir, was today detained by police along with 35 of his supporters ahead of his 'Ekta March' in Surat with the Gujarat administration following it up by imposing a ban on mobile Internet services across the state.
22-year-old Hardik's detention led to vociferous protests by community members at some places. The state administration said it has imposed a ban on mobile internet services in the state, ostensibly to curb spread of rumours. Hardik accused the state administration of muzzling the voice of Patidar community after his detention. No violent incident has been reported so far but Patel community members staged protests and tried to block roads at some places in Gujarat, police said.
"We detained Hardik Patel along with his 35 supporters from Mangadh chowk in Varachha area of the city ahead of their yatra today," Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana told PTI. "They were detained in the interest of law and order as they did not seek any permission from the state authorities to take out this rally. Hardik and others were taken to police headquarters after the detention," he said.
Asthana said those detained including Hardik will be released in the evening when the situation becomes conducive. Condemning the police action, the firebrand leader told reporters, after his detention, "The Gujarat government wants to muzzle our voice. They want to harass us. The government and the state police wants violence in the state. This act is against the spirit of democracy."
Hardik had till yesterday kept his plans secret about the Ekta Yatra after being denied permission to hold it from Dandi to Ahmedabad. Earlier in the day, Hardik's associate and the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in Surat- Alpesh Kathiria had announced that they will take out a rally from Mangadh chowk in Varachha area of the city.
"We have decided to ban mobile Internet service in the state to tackle the law and order situation and to curb rumours across Gujarat for an indefinite period," Director General of Police PC Thakur said.