The Movement Matters, Not the Venue: Hardik Patel tells The Quint
Heavy police presence was seen near Hardik Patel’s residence in Ahmedabad.
“There are many who will take up the mantle after I’m gone, just as Bhagat Singh rose after Batukeshwar Dutt,” said Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel, who is on the third day of his Indefinite Hunger strike. His demands are reservation for the Patidar community and a total loan waiver for farmers in the state.
Heavy police presence was seen near Hardik Patel’s residence in Ahmedabad. Hardik started his Hunger strike on Saturday, 25 August, on the third anniversary of the Patidar Maha Rally held in Ahmedabad.
The Maha Rally was marked by acts of rioting and vandalism and 14 people were killed on that day. Fearing a similar backlash, Gujarat police has detained over 158 persons and are preventing Patidar activists and PAAS members from reaching Hardik’s home.
Personnel from the crime branch are stationed behind Hardik’s home to prevent his supporters from jumping the wall, into his home. Except journalists, the police are not allowing anyone inside Hardik’s farm house in Lilapur in Ahmedabad, near SP Ring Road.
Hardik has not given any bytes to any media persons on camera as he rests on the stage. He did speak to The Quint off camera.
When asked about the clamp down by the police and the poor response to his hunger strike, he said, “They had to deploy over 3,000 cops to stop my men and patidars from joining the hunger strike. The cops are spread across the whole area, but no one will dare step in to my home.”
When asked what if the government intervenes and forcefully takes him to a hospital, he said, “ If they have their men, we have ours. They wouldn’t dare. My fight is for reservation of patidars and loan waiver for the farmers.”
He further added, “They didn’t give us permission to hold the hunger strike at a bigger venue fearing the people’s support. What they don’t know is venue is of little consequence, the movement is what matters.”
However, big names of the Patidar movement such as Dinesh Bhambaniya, who too was charged with sedition just as Hardik, were nowhere to be seen.
A team of doctors from Sola Civil Hospital in Ahmedabad checked up on Hardik Patel on Monday morning. His sugar and blood pressure levels are normal and they urged him to have water.
Hardik has also said that West Bengal Chief Minister Mamta Banerjee will soon come down to meet him while he is on his fast.
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