Hardik Patel, 22, accused of sedition by the Gujarat government, must leave the state for six months if he wants to be freed from jail, the High Court said.
Though Patel was given bail in two cases of sedition, he is also in jail for another case of vandalizing a legislator’s office. If he gets bail on Monday in that case, he will be free after nine months in prison.
Patel was arrested after he led a huge revolt of the powerful Patidar community against the ruling BJP.
Patel, who wielded a sword at public meetings that drew huge audiences, said the Patidars must be entitled to reserved government jobs and seats in colleges. Though the community was traditionally rich, it prospered from diamond trading and farming, sectors whose returns have greatly diminished in recent years.
Patel’s arrest was followed by large-scale arson and violence by his supporters in some of Gujarat’s biggest towns. He has assured the court that once he is freed, he will continue his agitation peacefully.
In propitiation, the Gujarat government has said it will offer 10% of government jobs for economically weak sections, a move that is unlikely to be accepted by the High Court, and has been rejected as not good enough by the Patels.