Patels Threaten to Convert in Order to Gain Reservation

Members of Patel community threatened to convert to gain reservation, since Gujarat government not meeting demands.

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Lakhs of Patels protest at a rally in Ahmedabad, demanding OBC quota. (Photo: The Quint)

With Gujarat government not heeding to the Patels’ demand for OBC status, at least 500 families of the community have threatened to leave Hinduism and convert to another religion for getting benefits of reservation in jobs and education. These families reside in Pasodara village near Surat city, around 260 kms from Ahmedabad.

Local Patel leaders called this move as a symbolic protest against the state government, which according to them, has denied reservation benefits to the community members under the OBC category.

At least 500 Patel families of Pasodara have decided to go for conversion in the wake of the government’s denial of reservation benefits to the Patels. We have conveyed our wish to convert to various Hindu organisations and leaders of our religion

Raju Bodara, Member, Akhil Bharatiya Patidar Sen

Vijay Patel, a local resident, said the families are “compelled” to take such a step.

Looking at the current situation, where the government is terrorising Patels by various means, we are left with no other option but to convert. We are compelled to do so. This government and our religious leaders should now do introspection on this issue. We are consulting legal experts to know more about our rights after conversion. We are also studying the Constitution. There must be a law which will give us all the benefits of reservation after conversion.

Vijay Patel, Local resident

The state-wide agitation for quota in Gujarat is being spearheaded by Hardik Patel, a 22-year-old commerce graduate who has been hogging the limelight after organising a massive rally in Ahmedabad on 25 August and his subsequent meetings with leaders of other communities like the Jats and Gujars who have also been making similar demands, and his run ins with the government authorities over the past few months.

(With inputs from PTI)

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