‘Not a terrorist, haven’t come from Lahore’: Hardik Patel arrested outside Mandsaur | india-news | Hindustan Times
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‘Not a terrorist, haven’t come from Lahore’: Hardik Patel arrested outside Mandsaur

Mandsaur and adjoining districts in Madhya Pradesh were rocked by sweeping protests last week as farmers demanded better crop prices and a loan waiver after rates at local markets crashed.

india Updated: Jun 13, 2017 23:13 IST
Ranjan and Mustafa Hussain
Hardik Patel was arrested on the way to Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district on June 13.
Hardik Patel was arrested on the way to Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district on June 13.(PTI File Photo)

Police arrested Gujarat Patidar leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday outside Madhya Pradesh’s Mandsaur district to block him from visiting families of farmers killed in police firing a week ago that sparked widespread protests.

Hardik, who led a violent movement demanding quotas for Patidars in Gujarat last year and is considered one of the community’s tallest leaders, said the government won’t achieve anything with his arrest.

“I am not a terrorist. I have not come from Lahore. I am an Indian citizen and can go to any place in India freely. Members of my family have been killed and I came to meet their families”, Patel said.

At least four of the six farmers killed were from the Patidar community that is considered a loyal votebank of the ruling BJP.

“I am not a terrorist. I have not come from Lahore. I am an Indian citizen and can go to any place in India freely. Members of my family have been killed and I came to meet their families”, said Patel talking to media persons at Nayagaon immediately after his arrest.

Mandsaur and adjoining districts were rocked by sweeping protests last week as farmers demanded better crop prices and a loan waiver after rates at local markets crashed. The state government was pushed on the back foot as protesters burnt vehicles and ransacked property, even setting police stations on fire.

A number of prominent politicians have made a beeline for Mandsaur, including Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi, who was arrested outside the district border. Congress leader and member of Parliament from Guna, Jyotiraditya Scindia, is also on his way to the spot. Curfew has been lifted from the area but prohibitory orders remain.