The parent group of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) which spearheaded the Patidar agitation in Gujarat in 2015, the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), while indicating the revival of the Patel movement, said that they will ensure that no single person or entity gains politically out of it, while keeping the movement purely in the community’s interest.
This was a clear indication of Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar quota agitation in 2015 in Gujarat. Hardik, formerly with the SPG, had founded the PAAS in 2015 to launch the quota agitation for the community. Later he joined the Congress and is now its working president in the state.
Lalji Patel, the president of the SPG on Tuesday said, “In a bid to end the quota stir, the BJP government in Gujarat had assured of providing jobs to the kin of our martyrs who lost their lives in police atrocities. The government had also assured to withdraw cases against our movement leaders. But even after all these years these promises have not been fulfilled.”
“We will be carrying out small meetings now with our community members at every level, explain and convince them about the situation and make them understand about our displeasure with the government. We will convince them that elections are the only weapon we (community) have to gain our demands. I am sure that our community will respond positively. But this time, we will ensure that no single face gains politically out of the movement,” added Patel.
Patel said that there were still about ten percent cases against Patidar community leaders, which the government had not withdrawn and no jobs were provided to the kin of the Patidar martyrs.
“Besides that, every year since 2015 the SPG has been commemorating August 26 as Patel Martyr’s Day, and we urge the community to commemorate this day when 14 persons sacrificed their lives for the community. Please light a candle or Diya to commemorate their sacrifice at your home or on the road,” added Patel.
Fourteen Patidar youth were killed in alleged police brutality in Patel dominated areas of Gujarat, especially Ahmedabad. This happened after the police detained Hardik Patel from the GMDC ground in Ahmedabad on August 25, 2015, where a large number of people were demonstrating.
The SPG will not only be approaching the government once again over the pending demands, but also for the Patel community’s inclusion in the Other Backward Class (OBC) category for reservation.
“But for this, right now we are in talks with community leaders and legal experts. We want inclusion, but without hurting any other backward class,” said Patel.