Hardik Patel On 10th Day Hunger Strike, Prepares Will: Know What Has Happened So Far
Marking the third anniversary of the Patidar quota agitation in Gujarat, Patidar leader Hardik Patel on 25th August started an indefinite hunger strike demanding reservations in jobs and education for the Patidar community and waiver of farm loans along with the release of his aide Alpesh Kathiria. Alpesh Kathiria is in jail for sedition charges.
Hardik Patel prepares a will
As Patel’s fast entered its 9th day on September 2, the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader seeing no response from the state government over his demands and his deteriorating health conditions, has reportedly prepared a will. The will which says his wealth shall be inherited by his family, a gaushala (cow shelter) and kin of 14 Patidar youths who died in violent protests in 2015, reported Hindustan Times.
In his will, Patel has claimed that his assets include a car, a life insurance policy and Rs 50,000 in his bank account. Manoj Panara, convenor PAAS told the daily, “He has declared Rs 50,000 in cash in an Axis Bank account, a life insurance policy and a car.” While Rs 20,000 will go to his parents, the rest will go to a gaushala.
Moreover, he claimed, “Royalty from the book on his life ‘Who Took My Job’, which is currently under publication, as well as insurance money and the money collected after selling a car owned by him will be divided among his parents, his sister and the family members of the 14 Patidars who sacrificed their life during the agitation three years ago,” reported NDTV. Patel has also expressed his wish to donate his eyes in case of his death.
The 25-year-old decided to launch the fast from his residence near Ahmedabad after authorities in the capital city Gandhinagar refused to allot a venue to Patel. Reportedly, the police said that his requests to allot a venue for a fast was denied while keeping in mind the law and order situation which had turned violent in a previous protest. Reportedly, considering his deteriorating health conditions, a government hospital doctor who visited him yesterday, asked him to get admitted to a hospital.
Support from political parties
There is growing support from political parties in opposition to his protest. Over the last ten days, leaders and representatives from various political parties which includes Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal have gone on to visit the fasting leader and to extend their support to him. Several Gujarat Congress leaders, including Kanu Kalsaria, former state Congress president Arjun Modhwadia and MLA Vikram Madam met with Patel and extended their support as well.
Modhwadia, reportedly even took a dig at the current government’s silence of the issue and asked, “I request the Gujarat and Central governments to hold talks with Hardik and find a solution. If our PM can go to Pakistan to meet (former PM) Nawaz Sharif, if talks can happen with separatists, then why not with Hardik?” reported Hindustan Times.
Meanwhile, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal backed Patel’s cause and tweeted in Hindi, “The farm loan of the farmers must be waived off. Hardik Patel is fighting for the cause of farmers. Entire farmer and society are with him. His hard work would not go in vain. Let God give him strength.”
किसानों की क़र्ज़ माफ़ी होनी चाहिए। हार्दिक पटेल ग़रीब किसानों की लड़ाई लड़ रहे हैं। सभी किसान और पूरा समाज उनके साथ है। उनकी तपस्या व्यर्थ नहीं जाएगी। प्रभू उन्हें शक्ति दे। https://t.co/NSN1GQ8XTx
— Arvind Kejriwal (@ArvindKejriwal) September 3, 2018
The 2015 Patidar protests
Hardik Patel initiated a major agitation to secure reservation benefits for the Patidar community. With his speeches, he became an overnight sensation. On August 25, 2015, he led a massive rally in Ahmedabad for reservation in government jobs and colleges for the powerful Patels or Patidars. The Patidar youths have been demanding an OBC status for themselves which would entitle Patidars to reserved quotas in government jobs and education.
Since 2002, this was the first that time Gujarat had seen such violent protests where curfew was imposed in some parts of the state and internet services were deactivated for many days.
Following the agitations, the Gujarat government in 2016 had passed an ordinance named the Gujarat Unreserved Economically Weaker Sections (Reservation of Seats in Educational Institutions in the State and of Appointments and Posts in Services under the State) Ordinance, 2016 which sought to provide 10 per cent quota in educational institutions and government jobs to the economically weaker sections among those who belong to the unreserved category.
The Gujarat High Court in the same year had quashed the ordinance, thereby declaring it to be “unconstitutional” and “illegal”. The petitions which opposed the ordinance challenged it on grounds that the 10 per cent reservation provision of the Gujarat government is against the limit of 50 per cent reservation provision which had been capped by the Supreme Court. The order stated that the ordinance had been set in place without conducting proper research and hence, it cannot be justified.