Hardik Patel Detained Near Rajkot Cricket Stadium Ahead of Protest Meet

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Hardik Patel, 22, had said he would not let the Indian and South African cricket teams enter the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium.

Rajkot:  Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patel stir for quotas, was detained 5 kilometers from the stadium in Rajkot on Sunday where the third one-day international match between India and South Africa was held. There were no reports of his release even hours after the match was over.

Mr Patel -- whose community has been demanding reservation under OBC quota for the last two months -- had asked his followers to disrupt the cricket match. He also said he would not let the Indian and South African cricket teams enter the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium.

The match, however, started on time, with the police fortifying the city in the wake of the threat and the violence the state witnessed recently over the quota stir.

Mobile internet services had been blocked on Saturday night "to maintain peace, stop rumours and for the smooth conduct of the international cricket match," District Collector Manisha Chandra had said yesterday.

Mr Patel's Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti had even purchased a number of tickets for the match. The 22-year-old leader's aide Dinesh Patel had warned that if their leaders were stopped from entering the venue, the state government "will have to face the wrath of the Patel community."

Asked whether the stir at the cricket match will spoil the country's image, Dinesh Patel had said, "We believe that the world should see how the Patel community is being harassed in the so-called development model of Gujarat".

He had also alleged that BJP workers would cause a disruption at the stadium and blame Patels for that. "We have reports that BJP men will create a ruckus at the match venue and they will blame us for that. They are going to spoil the image of the country, we will never wish that," he said.

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