No solution emerged from the three-hour meeting between Gujarat chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Patidar community leaders on Monday and the state government sought 10 days to respond to the latter’s demands.
Despite the government expressing its willingness to discuss reservation, the Hardik Patel-led Patidar community leaders chose to discuss the agenda of action against police for its excess and vandalising of private properties in late August.
Hardik Patel, convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) refused to term Monday’s meeting 'inconclusive', said the agitation for reservation would continue with an ‘Ekta’ march on September 19 from Dandi in Navsari. Besides, massive rallies would be held in five cities over the next 10-12 days.
“We did not bring up the reservation issue but, as discussed with our 144 convenors, we demanded action against police excess against citizens at GMDC in Ahmedabad and later in other parts of the state. The government has accepted our demands and sought 10 days to come back with solutions. We have also sought compensation for the deceased as well as injured which the government has agreed to bear,” Hardik Patel told media persons on Monday.
Addressing the mediapersons, Gujarat state health minister Nitin Patel, however, said from the government’s point of view, the meeting was successful. “The government led by chief minister Anandiben Patel briefed the Patidar community leaders the steps it had taken so far. We have also advised the Patidars to represent their demand to the OBC (other backward classes) Commission and the state government will take action upon the Commission's directions.”
He added the Patidars had assured they would continue their agitation peacefully.
“We have no issue if they continue their agitation peacefully. The Patidar leaders have agreed to meet again in future whenever the government invites them. On its part, the government has already set up a special committee to look into the reservation issue by the Patidar community. If anyone has any complaint against the police, they can approach this special committee, which will take action against the responsible police personnel,” said Nitin Patel, adding the state government would also lay an action plan for economically backward bright students belonging to the non-reserved category.
Monday’s meeting at the chief minister’s residence in Gandhinagar was attended by the two major factions within the Patidar community - Hardik Patel-led PAAS and Lalji Patel-led Sardar Patel Group (SPG) - along with 15 district convenors.
The meeting, which began around 6.30 pm instead of the scheduled 4.00 pm, went on late till 9.30 pm amidst heavy security. State finance minister Saurabh Patel, education minister Bhupendra Chudasama, and Nitin Patel also attended the meeting.
The community leaders demanded a Central Bureau of Investigation probe on the police excess during the PAAS-led rally in Ahmedabad on August 25. Terming the police action a diktat from somebody in the government, Hardik and Lalji Patel demanded that the government reveal the name of the person who ordered it.
The Patidars also demanded all recruitments in the state government be halted till the reservation issue was solved.
The 22-year-old was supposed to hold a march on Sunday from Dandi in Navsari district to Sabarmati in Ahmedabad, but he called it off after the state government invited him for talks.
Meanwhile, in a separate incidence, Patidar youths in Prantij Taluka of Sabarkantha district resorted to bulk withdrawal of deposits from the Prantij branch of Sabarkantha District Central Co-operative Bank to push for their demand for reservation. According to bank officials, amounts ranging from Rs 1,000 to Rs 1 lakh each were withdrawn by the Patidar youths, resulting in close to Rs 30 lakh being withdrawn.
Patidars' 7-point agenda before Gujarat CM
Action against police excess during August violence
CBI probe against errant police personnel
Compensation for deceased and injured in police excess
Action against doctors who sent wrong reports of injured Patidar youths to police
Release of innocent Patidar youth from police custody
Reveal the name of authority who ordered the police excess
- Demand to halt government recruitments till reservation issue is solved