Accusing the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-ruled Gujarat government of “acting with vindictiveness” against agitators like Hardik Patel, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) Monday held its Chintan Bethak in Ahmedabad and decided to reach out to community leaders who mediated peace talks at the relevant time between the agitators and the government.
PAAS leaders say that the Gujarat government had promised to withdraw criminal cases during peace talks, but nothing much has been done by the state government. Addressing media persons, PAAS convener Alpesh Kathiriya said, “We have mainly taken three decisions in today’s meetings. First, we will submit a memorandum related to withdrawal of cases against Patidars (registered during the quota agitation) at every district and taluka level in the state. Second, we will reach out to the community leaders who had mediated peace talks with the state government. Third, if it yields no result, then we will decide a specific centre and conduct an aggressive programme like (August) 2015 there.”
The meeting was attended by PAAS leaders, including Alpesh Kathiriya, Nikhil Savani, Jayesh Patel, Gita Patel and Hardik’s wife, Kinjal. According to Kinjal, Hardik has not gone home since January 18.
Currently, Hardik has gone underground even as he has moved an anticipatory bail application before the Gujarat High Court in connection with a case of rioting and other charges registered with Vastrapur Police Station in Ahmedabad. At the same time, an Ahmedabad-based court has issued a Non-Bailable Warrant (NBW) against him for not attending court proceedings in an another case of sedition registered in the city. The development has come in the wake of the recent arrest of Hardik Patel, who has joined Congress, in three different cases that were registered during the 2015 Patidar quota agitation.
A leader of PAAS and Hardik’s close aide, Nikhil Savani, said, “During the compromise talks, the state government had promised to withdraw criminal cases registered during the agitation. However, hardly 5-7% cases have been withdrawn and people are being harassed in old cases.”
“Elections of urban local bodies are coming up and Hardik has been campaigning across the state. And so, the BJP led state government has now started harassing and arresting him in old cases,” he added.
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