Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel on Thursday started an “indefinite hunger strike” inside the Central Jail in Surat where he is lodged in connection with a sedition case.
Prison authorities said Hardik had written to Jail Superintendent R N Pandey on February 16 stating that from February 18 onwards he would go on an indefinite fast, demanding immediate release of all quota stir leaders who are in jails across Gujarat, and reservation benefits for the community.
According to jail authorities, the 22-year-old Patidar leader refused to take food or water since morning. They, however, said his condition was “alright”.
Hardik, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, has been kept in a separate barrack.
“We tried to convince him to eat something, but he denied. He had given me a letter on February 16, demanding immediate release of Patidar youths from different jails and a decision on the reservation issue. Our medical team examined him and his health is at present normal. There is nothing to worry about. We have asked a team of doctors to monitor his health continuously. We have also informed the higher authorities,” said the jail superintendent.
On October 19 last year, police in Surat had arrested Hardik on charges of sedition for allegedly inciting fellow activist Vipul Desai to kill a handful of policemen instead of committing suicide. The alleged statement was made on October 3.
Two Patidar youths — Vipul and Chirag Desai — were also arrested in January this year in connection with the case and they are lodged in Surat district jail. Another accused Alpesh Katheriya has gone “underground”.
Hardik is also facing another sedition case which has been lodged by Ahmedabad Detection of Crime Branch.