Ahmedabad: Patel community leader Hardik Patel today warned that the agitation for reservation will intensify in coming days even as he accused the police of trying to “derail” the stir at the behest of political establishment and indulging in violence. “Police are acting against us on the directions either from Central or state government,” the 22-year-old convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) said in an oblique reference to the BJP which is leading governments at Centre and Gujarat. However, the young leader reiterated that he has no political affiliations.
Hardik, whose brief detention by police last night at the massive rally of Patels triggered violence in various parts of the state, refuted reports that Patels indulged in violence. “The peace of Gujarat is not breached due to our agitation, but the situation got worsened after the police resorted to violence during our hunger strike,” he told reporters, adding the agitation for demanding reservation in education and government jobs for Patels under OBC quota will continue unabated.
“Our agitation will continue on the path of peace and non-violence and we have so far conducted this movement like that only,” Hardik said. Referring to the violence in the state, Hardik said it was the fallout of the “bad” atmosphere created by government. “Gujarat Government created this bad atmosphere fearing that our agitation will grab headlines. They (state government) want to derail our agitation,” he said.
Upping the aggression, Hardik said, “I want to tell Gujarat police that if any son of Patel is beaten, and if anything happens after that, then state government and police will be responsible for it.” He demanded that the policemen who had beaten up innocent people should be immediately placed under suspension and cases filed against them.
“It’s my request to all my brothers to keep calm. But we also want the government to act and suspend those policemen who have beaten up Patel community members,” Hardik said, adding that “if needed, we will take our movement to each and every taluka and will sit on hunger strike there.” Incidents of arson and stone pelting erupted last light and public property was vandalised after brief detention of Hardik.
Fresh violence broke out during a day-long bandh today called by him even as curfew was clamped in parts of Ahmedabad, Surat and Mehsana districts and thousands of paramilitary and anti-riot personnel were deployed to control the situation. Three persons have been killed so far in the widespread violence in the state.