Hardik Patel, the face of the Patidar agitation, on Monday announced a campaign to gather “27 crore signatures” from the Gujjars and the Kurmis on a plea that would be submitted to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to press the demand for quota.
The 22-year-old convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti announced the campaign after returning from New Delhi, where on Sunday he laid out a nation-wide plan for the Patidar agitation and addressed a gathering of Kurmis and Gujjars, calling for a united front.
Watch Video: Patel Row Turns Violent: Nine Dead, PM Modi Appeals For Calm & There’s More Than Meets The Eye
Speaking to mediapersons, Hardik claimed support from various community outfits such as Gujjar Vikas Parishad, Akhil Bharatiya Kurmi Kshatriya Mahasabha, Akhil Bharatiya Chaudhary Anjana Samaj, Loh Purush Yuva Sangthan (Gujarat), Yuva Gujjar Manch and Rashtriya Gujjar Manch (Madhya Pradesh).
“We have got support from them,” he said.
He said the Patidar agitation would continue to be “operated” from Gujarat. “…people from across the country have supported us and very soon a rally would be carried out from Lucknow in support of this.”
“Till now, we used to have support from within Gujarat. Now, people from outside Gujarat will also support us. There are 27 crore Gujjars and Kurmis in the country. There will be signatures on an application… 27 crore signatures will be given to the Prime Minister,” the Patidar leader said.
On the future course of action, Hardik said it would be announced Tuesday after meetings of the Samiti members in various talukas and districts.
Surat unit convener of Samiti Alpesh Katheriya said that during a meeting with Hardik, it was decided to ensure that the agitation remains peaceful. “This time we are coming up in a different and well-planned way. We will disclose our future steps after organising press conference in Surat on Tuesday afternoon,” said Katheriya.
Meanwhile, over 1,000 women gheraoed Visnagar police station in Mehsana district, demanding release of eight persons arrested in connection with the last week’s violence. Claiming that police picked up innocents, the women laid a siege to the police station. Police tried to pacify the women protesters arguing that those arrested could be released only after orders from the court. The protest continued for 2-3 hours before the women dispersed.
Mehsana has remained “volatile” since violence broke out on the night of August 25.
HC won’t monitor death probe
The Gujarat High Court on Monday directed the CID to investigate the alleged custodial death of 32-year-old Shwetang Patel in a fair and transparent manner. The court, however, said the case doesn’t need its monitoring unless there was a serious complaint. While disposing of the petition moved by Shwetang’s mother, Justice J B Pardiwala ordered a fresh post-mortem by a penal of four doctors. The earlier report stated that Shwetang died of shock and head injuries.
Internet services restored
Six days after a notification suspended mobile internet and data, services were restored in Vadodara and adjoining areas on Monday evening, albeit, erratically. In Ahmedabad, however, residents were made to wait till midnight on Monday before services were restored. In Morbi, night curfew was lifted and internet services restored even as the army continues to be deployed. Morbi had witnessed the most violence in Saurashtra.