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Showdown? No nod, but Hardik Patel says will go on fast

I will go on fast at my home, and in jail if I am arrested or detained by the police, says Hardik

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The stage seems to be set for a showdown between Hardik Patel and the police on Saturday, with the Patidar quota leader saying he would go on an indefinite fast and the authorities denying him permission to hold the protest in Gandhinagar.

Hardik had earlier this week sought permission for holding the hunger strike in Gandhinagar after the originally planned venues in Nikol in Ahmedabad were converted into parking lots overnight. However, in a setback for the Patel leader, authorities in the State Capital on Friday declined permission for the agitation.

"The local administration, after carefully considering police's opinion, and discussions with police officials, has decided that there is no scope for giving permission for such a fast. Going by past experience and other aspects, the police opinion was that there is a potential threat to law & order if the fast is allowed, and hence we have decided not to give permission for it," Gandhinagar collector SK Langa told reporters.

The refusal leaves Hardik with very few options. The Patel leader, who turned 25 last month, said that he would go on fast "no matter what". "I will go on fast unto death whether permission is granted or not. I will go on fast at my home, and in jail if I am arrested or detained by the police," he said.

A large number of Ahmedabad police personnel were deployed at Hardik's residence on Thursday evening as a precaution. Joint commissioner of police Amit Kumar Vishwakarma told DNA that the deployment was made to prevent any untoward incident.

Hardik had announced the August 25 fast to mark third anniversary of Patidar Maharally, which was organised in Ahmedabad to press for reservation in higher education and government jobs for Patidar youths. Fourteen Patidar youths had lost their lives in the large-scale violence that had followed the rally.

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