In an apparent bid to placate the Patidar community ahead of Assembly elections, the BJP government in Gujarat on Thursday announced that it would withdraw all “non-serious” cases lodged against the community members during the agitation for OBC quota. However, the government did not give any definite assurance about withdrawal of two sedition cases against the quota agitation leader Hardik Patel. Deputy chief minister Nitin Patel said the decision to withdraw cases had nothing to do with the coming elections.
“We have already withdrawn 109 non-serious cases against Patidar agitators. Another 136 cases will be withdrawn this week as the process is underway. We will withdraw all non-serious cases soon,” he said at a press conference at Gandhinagar.
The minister did not give the exact number of cases lodged against Patidar agitators in the last two years.
As the railways has also lodged FIRs during the August 2015 quota agitation violence, Patel said the state home department has urged the railway minister to allow withdrawal of those cases too.
Asked about government’s stand on the fate of sedition cases against Hardik Patel and some others, the minister said the decision on those cases will be taken later.
“The decision to withdraw sedition cases will be taken in a phased manner, keeping in mind the law and order situation in Gujarat. We will take the decision later,” he said.
On September 26, Nitin Patel had held a meeting with Hardik Patel and other Patidar leaders, in a bid of evolve a compromise formula to pacify the politically dominant community which is demanding inclusion in the OBC quota.
Minister Patel also made several other announcements today, including abolition of toll for non-commercial vehicles on the SP Ring Road around Ahmedabad, Diwali bonus of Rs 3,500 for 35,000 class-4 government employees, jobs to the kin of sanitation workers who die in the course of duty and one per cent increase in the dearness allowance of government employees and pensioners.