AHMEDABAD: Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel has again postponed his 'reverse Dandi March', scheduled for today, to September 15, claiming that he has been invited by a Cabinet minister for a meeting with the state Chief Minister on the issue.
Earlier, on September 5, he had postponed his reverse Dandi March - from Dandi village in Navsari district to Ahmedabad - till today. Hardik, who has been spearheading the agitation to get reservation for the Patel community under OBC quota, said they
will hold a meeting with Chief Minister Anandiben Patel tomorrow and if their issues are not resolved, then the march will take place on September 15. "The 'Reverse Dandi Yatra', which was supposed to be held today, has now been postponed after senior Cabinet Minister Saurabh Patel called up late last night and invited us for a meeting with the Chief Minister," said the 22-year-old Patel community leader who heads the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS).
"With the approval of the Chief Minister, he (Saurabh Patel) assured us to fix a meeting with her tomorrow, and our issues will be resolved by then. If they do not bring out a solution to our issues, then they will give us a legal nod to take out our march," he said. When asked if he will attend the meeting, Hardik said, "The state government has just invited us on telephone. They will give us written invitation, then we will decide on it."
"If all the 146 conveners of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti unanimously tell me to attend the meeting, then only I will attend the meeting, otherwise not," he said. The police atrocities during violence for quota demand last month is the main issue now. The state government must discuss and take stern action in cases of police atrocities and a decision should be taken during that meeting (with CM) only, he said.
"We will give priority to the issue of police atrocities and the issue of reservation has now become secondary. Whoever police personnel had murdered our people and misbehaved with our women must be immediately suspended," he demanded. "We will demand suspension of all the 4,200 police personnel including constables, police inspectors or other officials who had beaten our people at GMDC ground on August 25," he said.
"They must tell us who was the General Dyer, who had given orders to resort to baton charge on our people, whether he was from Gujarat or some person sitting in Delhi," he added. Hardik also demanded the release of all the Patel community youths put behind bars in the cases of violence, while claiming that, "they all were innocent".
The state government should first clarify its stand on these issues in tomorrow's meeting, then we will talk on the reservation issue, he said. When asked if he wants to seek Prime Minister Narendra Modi's intervention on the issue, he said, "Modi is not the Prime Minister of Pakistan. He is the Prime Minister of India and as Gujarat is part of India, he should intervene." On whether his outfit PAAS has been assured that the state government will not play any politics further, he said, "As Chief Minister Anandiben has herself invited us, we thought of giving a chance to our elders. We will meet them with love."
Hardik said the Gujarat police and the government's action was worst than the British Rule in India, adding, "the British police and that government had not beaten the women and innocent people by intruding in their houses." "In (Mahatma) Gandhi's Gujarat, innocent people were beaten, we want to bring back Gandhi in Gujarat," he said. The state administration had yesterday denied permission to Hardik to take out the march from Dandi village in Navsari district to Ahmedabad, but the leader was adamant to go ahead with it.
However, Hardik had then given an ultimatum of a week to the state government either to give them permission to hold the march or his community members will take out the march even if they were not given nod.