Hardik Patel’s family was put under house arrest and seven women from the community were detained on Thursday for sloganeering and demanding his immediate release.
The action was taken when Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel was addressing a gathering in the jailed leader’s hometown, Viramgam, in the district.
The police action drew flak from the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which spearhead the quota agitation, even as the women were later let-off and Hardik’s family was released after the CM’s programme ended.
As a precaution ahead of the CM’s visit, Hardik’s family, who lives in the town, was kept under house arrest till the programme ended Thursday afternoon, Viramgam town Police Inspector Vishwarajsinh Jadeja said.
“We detained seven women as they started shouting slogans when the CM was delivering her speech at Shala Praveshotsav (school enrolment) programme. We released them after the programme ended in the afternoon,” Jadeja said.
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“To stop Hardik’s family from creating any trouble during CM’s visit, we kept his father (Bharatbhai), mother (Ushaben) and sister (Monika) under house arrest. The house arrest was later lifted after the function ended,” he said.
Meanwhile, on seeing the women chanting slogans during her speech, Anandiben said reservation will not solve problems as there is no substitute to hard work.
“Reservation alone is not the solution. People want to bypass hard work and wish to get a high ranking job, such as Superintendent of Police. They must first apply for a post of lower ranking job, such as a constable, and then climb to higher position with hard work,” Patel told the gathering.
The police action on women and Hardik’s family drew flak from the members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which is spearheading the agitation for the inclusion of Patels under OBC quota for reservation.
According to a PAAS member and Hardik’s close aide Dinesh Bambhaniya, the government is suppressing the voice of Patel community.
“This is clear violation of our rights, as our women are not allowed to speak. We also condemn the unlawful detention of Hardik’s family, who were under house arrest since late yesterday night,” Bambhaniya alleged.
He was recently released on bail in a sedition case filed against Hardik and five of his aides (including Bambhaniya) by the city Crime Branch here.