Speaking to Rajya Sabha TV, Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, has threatened to intensify his protest if his demand for an Other Backward Caste (OBC) quota is not met.
“In the last decade, the Patels have suffered a lot in getting education and jobs. We want the govt to include us (Patidar community) in the 27% OBC quota…We will intensify our agitation if our demands are not met,” said Hardik while speaking to Rajya Sabha TV in Ahmedabad.
On being asked about Supreme Court’s order of a cap of 50% on quota, Hardik said, “If the SC can meet at 3:00am for a terrorist, it can do the same for the youth.”
For the last 3 days tension has prevailed in several parts of Gujarat after protests broke out in the wake of the Patel community’s quota agitation. Over 10 people have died in the clashes that followed after Hardik was briefly detained during his Ahmedabad rally.
On Thursday, tension eased across Gujarat with no incident of violence being reported. Curfew was lifted in three out of the nine areas of Ahmedabad.
“Curfew has been lifted in Naranpura, Ghatlodia and Vadaj police stations areas of Ahmedabad today. The decision was taken after no incident of violence was reported in these areas,” a city control room police official said.
“The situation in other areas of the city is normal and we are likely to lift curfew there also if tension eases,” the official added.
Curfew was clamped in nine areas of the city – Nikol, Odhav, Ramol, Bapunagar, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, Naroda, Krishnanagar and Vadaj – on August 26 after widespread violence was reported.
However the Army continued to flag march in certain sensitive areas.
“Army’s flag march continued today in sensitive areas where violence was reported,” Ahmedabad District Collector Rajkumar Beniwal told PTI.
In other areas of the city where curfew was not clamped, traffic movement was reported to be normal. Public buses are set to be operational soon and business establishments, markets and shops were all said to be functioning as usual. But schools and colleges are still shut in six areas of the city where curfew is still on.
Other parts of Gujarat like Rajkot, Surat, Banaskantha and Mehsana did not see any major incident of violence, a control room official said.
The violence was largely contained in the state due to the heavy presence of the Army and about 5000 paramilitary personnel. On the night of August 26th, protesters resorted to clashing with the police and burning public vehicles soon after their 22-year-old leader Hardik was detained in Ahmedabad. Violence quickly spread from the capital to several other areas in the state.
10 people died in the clashes, including a policeman and Hardik has demanded a compensation of Rs 35 lakh for each of the families of the deceased. He also wants the state to take action against those policemen who lathicharged at the peaceful protestors. On Thursday, Patel also urged the farmers of his community to join his agitation by not supplying milk and vegetables across the state.
(With inputs from PTI)