Patel group threatens indefinite fast from new year

Ahmedabad, Dec 29 (IANS) The Patel community in Gujarat, agitating for reservations, will go on an indefinite fast in all district headquarters from the first week of the new year to pressurise the state government to release their leader Hardik Patel, who is in custody on sedition charges.

“We are planning to sit on an indefinite fast from January 6. Office bearers of all district units of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) will join,” a PAAS leader said, requesting anonymity.

He said Hardik Patel’s father Bharat Patel was also likely to join the movement, while family members of other jailed Patidar agitators will begin an agitation from the Mahatma Mandir in state capital Gandhinagar.

The PAAS leader said that even if Hardik and other jailed leaders are not acquitted by courts, they could be granted bail.

“But the state government wants them to be in jail,” the PAAS leader said.

Hardik, his close aide Chirag Patel, Dinesh Bambhania, Ketan Patel and many other Patidar leader are in custody for sedition and other charges since mid-October.

According to PAAS sources, the jailed leaders will too join them and fast inside the prison.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has also decided to support the Patels by organising a rally on January 5 for the same purpose.

“We couldn’t have performed well if the Patidars had not given us votes wholeheartedly in the local body polls,” a Congress leader said.

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