Had reasons to believe that Hardik was abducted, says his aide

Last month, the High Court had sought an affidavit substantiating the charges made in the habeas corpus petition.

Ahmedabad: In an affidavit filed before the Gujarat High Court on Monday, Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel's aide claims that he had reasons to believe that Hardik had been abducted on September 22 and that was why he filed a habeas corpus petition.

"The apprehension...Proved to be correct, real and genuine," says the affidavit filed before the division bench of Justices K S Jhaveri and R P Dholaria by Patel aide Dinesh Bambhaniya's wife Pintuben Patel through his lawyer advocate B M Mangukiya.

Last month, the High Court had sought an affidavit substantiating the charges made in the habeas corpus petition.

The petition was filed by Ketan Patel and Bambhaniya when Hardik had gone missing after a public meeting in Aravalli district on September 22. Hardik surfaced the next day and the petition claimed he had been abducted by some persons who "looked like policemen".

But the Gujarat government alleged that Hardik himself had fled after the meeting and was in contact with Ketan Patel and Dinesh Bambhaniya during the period.

Since Bambhaniya, Ketan Patel and Hardik are in jail after arrest on sedition charges, Bambhaniya's wife filed the affidavit today.

It says that the Gujarat government and the police are targetting the community after the mega rally of Patels here on August 25 over OBC quota demand. More than 300 cases were registered against the community members.

Police kept Hardik and others under constant surveillance, it alleges.

Hardik was first arrested in Rajkot in September for

allegedly insulting the tricolour, then Surat police arrested him for alleged sedition last month, followed by arrest by Ahmedabad crime branch on the same charge, says the affidavit.

Patels are not treated as citizens in the state any more after the August 25 rally and they are being treated by the police as "slaves", it says, adding that against this background, her husband and Ketan Patel were very much sure that Hardik had been abducted.

The court scheduled the further hearing for December 3 as Arvalli police sought time to go through the affidavit.

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