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AHMEDABAD Hardik Patel, who is spearheading an agitation for reservation for the Patel community in Gujarat, must be produced before it by Thursday, the Gujarat High Court told the state government in a late night order after his lawyers claimed that he had been detained by the police illegally.The order came around 2:30 am after Mr Patel’s lawyers moved a petition that requires a person to be brought before a court.Police claim that Mr Patel fled in a vehicle on Tuesday after they tried to detain him for holding a meeting in a village in Aravalli district without permission. “As we came to know about it, our police team went there to detain him but he ran away from there to evade detention,” Inspector General of Police Hasmmukh Patel told PTI. But the 22-year-old’s lawyers allege that he was being held by the cops illegally.“There was no trace of Hardik and we did not know where he was. We later got to know that he was being threatened for the past two days by the state government and their supporters. They were asking him to end the protest,” said Mr Patel’s lawyer BM Mangukiya.The police have lodged a case against Mr Patel and 13 of his associates for organizing the meeting without prior permission.Hardik Patel is leading an agitation for the inclusion of the influential Patels or Patidars among castes in Gujarat that benefit from affirmative action. Last month, he brought Ahmedabad to a stop with a massive rally. His brief detention that evening led to violence in many places in the state.He was arrested again on Saturday after he attempted to hold a protest rally in Surat.Hardik Patel’s protests have been aimed at the BJP, which rules both at the Centre and the state, where Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has rejected the Patels’ demand.
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