Ahmedabad: Gujarat government today said that Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel was not "abducted" by police as he claims and asserted that action will be taken against him as per law as it vowed to preserve peace in the state.
"Police had tried to arrest Hardik after he held a meeting yesterday without prior permission. But police said yesterday they could not catch him (Hardik) and he himself went away somewhere," Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel told reporters here.
"So it is factually incorrect to say he was abducted by police," Rajni said when asked about the claim by a Hardik aide that the 22-year-old protest leader was kept illegally confined by police throughout the night.
"This is merely his (Hardik's) claim, but police yesterday had made it clear that he was not confined anywhere," Rajnin said.
Asked if Hardik, spearheading the Patel community stir for reservation under OBC category, will be arrested, the minister said "action will be taken against him as per law".
The minister said police have initiated action against other leaders, including Alpesh Thakor of OBC Ekta Manch, for holding rallies without prior permission from authorities.
"Police also initiated action against other leaders, including Alpesh Thakor, who held a public meeting in Mehsana without taking prior permission," Rajni said.
Rajni said the government's priority is to maintain peace. "Our priority is to create an atmosphere of peace and security in Gujarat. We will take stern action against anyone who tries to breach peace and tranquillity in the state," he said.
"People can raise their daemands within the limits of law, but we will not allow them to create a situation which disturbs law and order in society," he added.
After an overnight drama, Hardik, who had given the slip to police at Tenpur village in Aravali district, today said he was "abducted" by some persons with weapons.
Gujarat High Court, in an early morning hearing, directed the government to find Hardik after an aide moved a habeas corpus petition alleging that he had been illegally detained by police, a charge which was rejected by the authorities.