The parents of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel met him in Lajpore Central Jail in Surat on Thursday afternoon, purportedly to convince him to break his fast. However they were not allowed enough time, they alleged. While the jail superintendent claimed he had broken his fast a few days ago, his parents came with food to persuade him to “break fast” .
Hardik’s parents, Bharatbhai and Ushaben, were accompanied by his uncle Vipul Patel and his cousin Ravi Patel. They were allowed to see him for seven minutes as per jail manual. Vipul Patel told this paper, “We wanted his mother to give him food and ask him to break his fast, but the jail officials did not allow us more than a few minutes. They are treating us like relatives of terrorists.”
Hardik (23), who is in the jail under sedition charges lodged against him by Surat police, is said to be on hunger strike since last Thursday. His health deteriorated last Friday and he was admitted to the New Civil Hospital. Later, he was discharged from the hospital.
Surat PAAS co-convenor Dharmik Malaviya said, “If Hardik continues with the hunger strike for more days then all those in the Ekta Yatra, which started from Sidsar, will join him. If anything happens to any Patidar youth in the rally, the state government and its ministers would be held responsible.”
Jail superintendent R N Pandey said, “Hardik is not on hunger strike. He called off the strike a few days back after he was admitted to the New Civil hospital.”