To mount pressure on the government, the Convenor of Patidaar Anamat Andholan Samiti (PASS), Hardik Patel has threatened to thwart the third ODI match between India and South Africa in Rajkot on Sunday. Hardik has threatened that he will block the teams from entering the stadium because members of the Patel community were deliberately not given tickets for the match.
The 22-year-old leader, who is spearheading Patel community’s demand for a quota also said that the protestors will cordon off the Saurashtra Cricket Association stadium in Khanderi village in the outskirts of Rajkot.
“Saurashtra Cricket Association (SCA) should clarify on why they declared that all tickets are sold in spite of the fact that many tickets yet remain unsold,” Hardik Patel alleged.
“PAAS will block the way of both the teams (of India and South Africa) to the stadium (on the match day) and we will also cordon the entire stadium,” Hardik threatened.
The police have stepped up their vigil. They have made elaborate security arrangements after Hardik’s threat. The police is likely to fortify the stadium and the city with large deployments to ensure the smooth conduct of the match.
Three Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) and 90 CCTV cameras will be installed for security purposes.
2,000 policemen and 5 Superintendents of Police (SPs) will be deployed, said Rajkot Range IG D R Patel.
Besides that, 7 teams of Quick Response Cell (QRC), 3 companies of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF) and 1 company of Rapid Action Force (RAF) will be deployed, the IG said.
Both the Indian and the South Africa teams arrived in the city on Thursday and held practice sessions on the ground on Saturday morning.
Hardik, who is protesting against the government to get a reservation for Patel community under Other Backward Class (OBC) quota, has accused the BJP of playing politics over the cricket match.
“The (BJP) Government was saying till now that the match should not be turned into an agitation venue, but now this government is itself playing politics over the match,” Hardik alleged on Friday.
“I request to declare the details of ticket selling, because we believe that SCA has given all the match tickets to the BJP people,” Hardik said.
Hardik also alleged that BJP members will create chaos and harm the cricketers and then blame it on the Patel community.
In August this year, Hardik’s brief detention in Ahmedabad sparked violence across the state in which 10 people were killed.
Earlier, Hardik had threatened that members of his community will go to the stadium in large numbers on the day of the cricket match and protest for their quota demand.
(With inputs from PTI)