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37 Patel community members arrested for demanding Hardik Patel’s release

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Police arrested 37 members of the community, including their leader Lalji Patel, for demonstrating in front of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.
File Photo
PTI
Police on Monday foiled a proposed indefinite hunger strike by Patel community members, who were arrested for staging without permission a protest demanding release of incarcerated quota agitation leader Hardik Patel and withdrawal of sedition charges against him and others.Police arrested 37 members of the community, including their leader Lalji Patel, for demonstrating in front of Sabarmati Ashram in Ahmedabad.”We have arrested 37 people as they tried to protest without permission in front of Sabarmati Ashram,” Ranip area Police Inspector V B Patel said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>They included Lalji of Sardar Patel Group (SPG) and Atul, Convenor of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), Ahmedabad unit, he said.PAAS, spearheading the stir demanding reservation for the community in government jobs and educational institutes, has sought immediate release of its jailed leaders, including Hardik. Leaders of PAAS earlier handed over a memorandum to District Collectors and other government officials at taluka level in various parts of the state and said if their leaders are not released, they will start a stir from today.The Samiti also asked the government to withdraw sedition charges against their leaders Hardik, Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya and Nilesh Arvadia. As part of the stir for their release, PAAS members were to sit on an indefinite hunger strike. However, police foiled their plan by placing them under arrest.

Gujarat CM Anandiben Patel to inaugurate ‘Statue of Unity’ foundation raft concrete work

The work order for the project was issued by the state government in October last year to leading engineering firm Larsen and Toubro (L&T).
File Photo
PTI
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Tuesday will inaugurate ‘Statue of Unity’ foundation raft concrete work. ‘Statue of Unity’, is a pet project of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.The engineering team working on the project has completed levelling the hillock ‘Sadhu Bet’, located around 3 kms from the Sardar Sarovar dam across Narmada river in Narmada district, P C Vyas, chief engineer of the project told PTI. The hillock is flattened to 60 meters for foundation raft concrete work, he added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”The RAFT work at the foundation site of the statue will be completed in next 7 days by working round the clock. The safe bearing capacity for raft foundation for the proposed monument is 2,300 KPA,” Vyas said.The work order for the project was issued by the state government in October last year to leading engineering firm Larsen and Toubro (L&T).”This construction work will be completed on June 3, 2018 at an estimated cost of Rs 2,979 crore. Rs 1,347 crore will be spent on the main statue, Rs 235 crore will be spent on the exhibition hall and convention centre while Rs 83 crore will be spent on the bridge connecting the memorial to the main land and Rs 657 crore would be spent to maintain the structure until 15 years after it is completed,” Patel had said while awarding the contract to L&T. The statue will be taller than the ‘Statue of Unity’ in New York.”The project includes an exhibition hall and audio-visual presentation on the life of Sardar Patel, which will become the centre of attraction for tourists from across the globe,” SS Rathore, Chairman and Managing Director of Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Limited (SSNNL) told PTI.”75,000 cubic metres of concrete, 5,700 metric tonne of steel structure, 18,500 steel rods and 22,500 metric tonne of bronze will be used for this project. The project is expected to generate employment in the tribal area of Narmada district as well as boost the tourism sector,” Rathore added.The project was initially launched Prime Minister Modi on the birth anniversary of Sardar Patel on October 31, 2013 when he was Gujarat Chief Minister. The first phase of the project will involve construction of the main statue, a bridge connecting the statue to the river bank and reconstruction of the 12-km road along the bank.The project also involves a memorial park at the base of the statue, an artificial reservoir between the dam and Garudeshwar town and a visitor facilitation centre along reception desk at Kevadia.

After Mohan Bhagwat, now Praveen Togadia pitches for construction of Ram temple in Ayodhya

“I am hopeful that the way the son of Gujarat, Sardar Patel, got Somnath temple built, in the same manner, the son of Gujarat Narendra Modi, who is firm on will power, will decide about the construction of a huge Ram temple,” Togadia said at a public meeting.

Praveen Togadia
File Photo

Days after RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat, VHP leader Praveen Togadia on Sunday made a pitch for the construction of a Ram temple at Uttar Pradesh’s Ayodhya.”I am hopeful that the way the son of Gujarat, Sardar Patel, got Somnath temple built, in the same manner, the son of Gujarat Narendra Modi, who is firm on will power, will decide about the construction of a huge Ram temple,” Togadia said at a public meeting. “If the need so arises, he (Modi) will enact a law in a joint session of Parliament,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Togadia said that a resolution for the construction of a Ram Temple was passed at BJP’s national executive at Palanpur in Himachal Pradesh in 1987. “This (construction of Ram Temple at Ayodhya) has a mention in BJP’s manifesto as well,” he added.The VHP leader said he was “hopeful” that under the leadership of Modi, work on a Ram Temple will be completed. “For this, Hindus must be ready to support Modi,” he said.”On Shaurya Diwas (observed by Hindu outfits on Dec. 6), we take two resolutions; one: to build Ram Temple, and to establish Ram Raj,” he said. Defining ‘Ram Raj’, Togadia said “it means employment to 10 crore youths, education to scores of children, free health facility to poor Hindus and well-being of farmers”. Togadia said that VHP was providing education to children and free medical treatment to poor Hindus in a big way.On December 2 in Kolkata, RSS chief Bhagwat had expressed hope that the Ram temple in Ayodhya would be constructed in his lifetime.

Mohan Bhagwat asks society to prepare for a grand Ram temple

In one of the tweets, Bhagwat recalled that Somnath temple was rebuilt with the “efforts” of the then Home Minister Sardar Patel and the then President had laid the foundation stone.

Mohan Bhagwat

PTI
RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat on Thursday asked society to prepare for building a grand Ram temple like the one in Somnath (Gujarat), a call that was disapproved of by Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar who said BJP was keen on keeping the issue “alive” for political purposes.A day after Bhagwat spoke in Kolkata on Wednesday expressing the hope that the Ram temple in Ayodhya will be constructed in his lifetime, RSS today made a series of tweets quoting Bhagwat on the issue. In one of the tweets, Bhagwat recalled that Somnath temple was rebuilt with the “efforts” of the then Home Minister Sardar Patel and the then President had laid the foundation stone. “India is rich in religion and culture. Ram is our ideal whom some regard as god and some as a great man… Society should rise taking inspiration from Ram and Sharad Kothari and prepare for building a grand Ram temple like Somnath,” the RSS chief said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ram and Sharad Kothari were among the RSS activists killed in police firing on ‘karservaks’ in 1990 when they tried to march to the disputed temple site in Ayodhya. “The grand goal may be realised in our own time. May be we can see it with our own eyes,” he had said in Kolkata. Reacting to Bhagwat’s comments, BJP said that it “definitely believes Ram temple should be built sometime.” In Patna, Nitish Kumar attacked the RSS and BJP over Bhagwat’s remarks and said the saffron party was interested in keeping the issue “alive” for political purposes.”BJP merely wishes to keep the Ram Temple issue alive. They have no respect for Lord Rama,” Kumar told reporters. “They treat Lord Rama as if God is a member of BJP.” Of late, Hindutva leaders have been increasingly demanding the construction of Ram temple, more so after the death of prominent VHP leader Ashok Singhal, a key architect of Ram temple movement.

If Sardar Patel had become PM, India would have become Pakistan: Author Kancha Ilaiah

Dalit activist and author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred a controversy by saying that India would have gone on the lines of Pakistan had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the nation’s Prime Minister.

Youtube video grab

Dalit activist and author Kancha Ilaiah has stirred a controversy by saying that India would have gone on the lines of Pakistan had Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel become the nation’s Prime Minister.Speaking at the Times LitFest on Sunday, Ilaiah said that Patel was close to the Hindu Mahasabha and added that he wouldn’t have allowed Ambedkar to draft and write the Constitution.The Congress Party said everyone had a right to have an opinion.”What Kancha Ilaiah has said is his personal view. One leader cannot be compared with another as every leader has his own stature. I would not like to comment on his views,” Congress leader PL Punia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>

Gujarat local body polls: Congress hopeful after high voter turnout

The leader said he can envisage the defeat of BJP and victory of the Congress.

Overwhelmed by the high voter turnout till noon across Gujarat for the second phase of local body elections, senior Congress leader Ahmed Patel expressed confidence of winning the polls and termed the trend as a “wave for change”.Patel on Sunday exercised his franchise at a booth in his ancestral village of Piraman in Bharuch district . “This enthusiasm among people, who are coming out in huge numbers, to cast their votes, indicates a wave of change. Attempts were made (by BJP) to replicate the ‘Gujarat Model’ across India. But, people will eventually realise that they have been cheated and misguided by such claims of development,” Patel told reporters.The leader said he can envisage the defeat of BJP and victory of the Congress.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Polling to 31 district panchayats, 230 taluka panchayats and 56 municipalities was conducted today from 8 AM to 5 PM. Counting of votes will be done on December 2. As per the primary report from the State Election Commission, more than 35 per cent voters have already exercised their franchise till 3 PM across Gujarat. Among the prominent personalities, who have cast their votes, include state Health Minister Nitin Patel, Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel, Gujarat Congress president Bharatsinh Solanki and many other leaders from both the parties.After casting his vote in Kadi town of Mehsana, Nitin Patel also expressed confidence of winning polls. “For BJP, development is the only agenda, be it local body polls, Assembly polls or Lok Sabha. People of Mehsana, who were deprived of drinking water earlier, are now given water from Narmada. People knows what this BJP government has done for them,” he said.Besides, people associated with the Patel Quota stir also cast their votes, including president of Sardar Patel Group(SPG) Lalji Patel. Face of quota movement, Hardik Patel’s father Bharatbhai, mother Ushaben and sister Monica also exercised their franchise in Viramgam town of Mehsana

Azam Khan writes three-page letter to sympathise with Aamir Khan over backlash

Lucknow: Uttar Pradesh minister Mohd. Azam Khan on Tuesday sympathised with Aamir Khan over the backlash triggered by the Bollywood actor’s revelation that his wife contemplated leaving India due to “growing intolerance” in the country.

Azam Khan came up with his own ridiculous idea of what causes rape. PTIAzam Khan came up with his own ridiculous idea of what causes rape. PTI

Azam Khan came up with his own ridiculous idea of what causes rape. PTI

In a three-page letter, urban development minister Khan said Aamir was a great and gifted actor and that “he shall not think on these lines as India was for all and that some comments from some people cannot be construed as opinion of the majority”.

He also urged the actor to feel for himself how such harsh words and acts would be hurting the millions of commoners, as he himself was a star.

Likening the feelings of the actor on intolerance to his own, the minister, known for his penchant for controversies, went on to write that the Bollywood actor need not be demoralised with the conditions prevailing in the country, as millions of Muslims had chosen to stay back in India instead of going to Pakistan because of their faith in the likes of Jawaharlal Nehru and Sardar Patel.

He also urged Aamir Khan to educate the illiterate Muslims that they should not be used by politicians. The Uttar Pradesh leader concluded his letter with three couplets, suggesting India was for all.

Bring law in Parliament for building Ram temple: Pravin? Togadia

Pravin Togadia

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) general secretary Pravin Togadia on Monday called for building of Ram Temple at Ayodhya by passing a law in Parliament.”Ashok Singhal was synonymous to Ram Temple Movement. The real ‘shrandhanjali’ (tribute) to him will be to build Ram Temple,” Togadia said at the condolence meeting for Singhal held here. Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and Governor O P Kohli were also present at the meeting. “We demand that to build the temple, way of Sardar Patel should be used. For building Somnath Temple, Sardar Patel did not go to talk to people, nor did he wait for court order, but he brought a resolution in the Parliament,” Togadia said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”In the same way, present Parliament should bring in a law for building of Ram Temple,” Togadia said. The Ram temple issue is presently before the Supreme Court. “Following western culture there was an attempt before and after independence to separate religion from social and political life of India contrary to its age old tradition. However, Singhal’s main contribution was he succeeded to bring religion back to social and political life of the country,” Togadia said.Togadia went on to describe Singhal as one of the “tallest” Hindu leaders of the time and listed many movements started by him. Kohli said, “Before Singhal, Hindus were feeling ashamed to assert their identity but after his various agitations now Hindus proudly assert themselves.”The Chief Minister heaped praise on work carried out by Singhal to revive Hinduism in the country and remembered how he was instrumental in imparting training to thousands of Sangh Parivar workers.Many saints who had come from various parts of state also offered condolence to Singhal.89-year-old Singhal passed away on November 17 following cardio-vascular failure and septicaemia after he was admitted to a hospital in Gurgaon with complaints of acute breathlessness and pneumonia.

Rehabilitation of Sardar Sarovar Project displaced: Did three governments lie to the Supreme Court?

Bhopal: Have the Maharashtra, Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh governments hoodwinked the Supreme Court and the nation on the rehabilitation of the people displaced by the construction of dams on Narmada?

A panel of four retired judges called the ‘Independent People’s Tribunal on SSP’, which was on a fact-finding mission into the Sardar Sarovar Project (SSP)-affected area of the Narmada valley since September, has exposed the fallacy of the three governments’ claim about complete rehabilitation of affected people.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

While exposing gross violation of the Narmada Water Disputes Tribunal Award and Judgements of the Supreme Court, the panel has expressed grave concern at the possible displacement of about 2.5 lakh people and “mass violation of the constitutional right to life, destruction of livelihoods, as also wiping out of an entire culture and civilization.”

Firstpost had last year reported anomalies in the claims of the governments. The Madhya Pradesh government had set apart Rs 5.51 crore to provide emergency relief to people in the submergence area of the dams. The National Alliance for People’s movement (NAPM) had then questioned the need to spend so much if all evictees were already rehabilitated as per the directions of the Supreme Court.

Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti had also glossed over the issue, saying the Social Justice ministry’s reports show the rehabilitation had been completed. Critics had disputed Bharti’s claim and demanded that these reports be made public.

According to Alok Agrawal of the Narmada Bachao Andolan (NBA), contingency funds were earmarked in the past too. Last year they were disputed after the government claimed all evictees have been rehabilitated.

The controversy gained currency after Narmada Control Authority (NCA) allowed the Gujarat government to raise the height of the Sardar Sarovar Dam in that state from 121.92 metres to 138.62 metres by installing gates on it. The Madhya Pradesh High Court later stayed the operation of the order that came less than a month of Modi government’s ascent last year.

The deficient flow in the river led to another question on whether a taller Sardar Sarovar dam could slake the parched fields of Gujarat or meet the power generation needs of Madhya Pradesh in the event of a sluggish monsoon? Was the government driven by just political greed?

Now the four-member panel endorses the view that NCA’s permission to increase height of the might be legally untenable. Justice (retired) VD Gyani (MP High Court) said the findings would be placed before the Supreme Court soon. The other members of the panel of are Justice PC Jain (Rajasthan), Justice Nag Mohan Das (Karnataka) and Justice NK Mody (MP).

During their field visit on 11 September and representations made by affected people from three states and the organisations working for them, the judges found enough evidence that rehabilitation and resettlement of people affected by the 121.92 metres height was nowhere close to complete.

At least 33 villages in Maharashtra and 193 villages and a town (Dharampuri) in MP were yet to be completely rehabilitated.

“Children are still going to same schools and people are casting votes in the same booths from years in the villages that the MP government has claimed have been completely shifted and resettled. What does that prove?” Justice Gyani said. Due to faulty assessment of backwater levels over 15,000 families that would be affected by the raised height of the dam have not even been recognised project-affected families (PAFs).

Justice Gyani said increasing in the height of the dam would affect thousands of the people and should not be allowed before the rehabilitation and resettlement (R&R) of all affected people was completed by the three state governments.

Medha Patkar of the NBA says, “Our demand is the withdrawal of permission for further construction and installation of a gate of SSP till all the affected families are rehabilitated and resettled according to norms,” she said. Representatives of various state government agencies concerned including the Narmada Valley Development Authority (NVDA) did not attend the tribunal despite invitation, according the NBA.

Justice Rajinder Sachchar, who was present during the media briefing over the panel’s observations earlier this week, said those who once considered SSP as the 8th Wonder of the world are disillusioned by it. Even the media has underexposed the limitations of the project and the cover up by the governments, he said.

The governments of the three states have so far maintained a studied silence on the issue.

Uttar Pradesh Guv Ram Naik finds himself a new controversy, stops national anthem mid-way

In a quick damage control measure, a Raj Bhawan official clarified that it was due to a minor confusion and there was no intention to insult the national anthem.

It triggered a controversy with questions being raised whether it tantamount to insulting the national anthem.

File Photo
Uttar Pradesh Governor Ram Naik on Saturday stoked a controversy when he ordered stopping of national anthem mid-way as it was being played during the end of the oath taking function for ministers in Raj Bhawan.As the national anthem was played at the end of the event, Naik waved at his staff indicating that Jana Gana Mana be stopped and even verbally instructed his personnel to do so as he wanted to take up a pledge of national unity to mark the National Integration Day on the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>On Naik’s instructions, the playing of Jana Gana Mana was stopped mid-way, but it triggered a controversy with questions being raised whether it tantamount to insulting the national anthem.In a quick damage control measure, a Raj Bhawan official clarified that it was due to a minor confusion and there was no intention to insult the national anthem. “The programme had not ended and the playing of national anthem got underway…the Governor had to administer national unity pledge before the event concluded,” he said.Opposition Congress demanded an apology from those responsible for the lapse, saying playing of the national anthem cannot be stopped mid-way. “This is most unfortunate and condemnable…. We demand an apology from those responsible,” Congress spokesman Dwijendra Tripathi said.

PM Modi flags off unity run, honours Sardar Patel, says unity and harmony necessary

Modi also used the occasion to take a dig at dynastic politics, saying it had become a bane of our politics and recalled that Patel never promoted any family member in political life.

PM Narendra Modi flagging off run for unity

ANI
Invoking Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s work for national integration, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said “unity, peace and harmony” was the first condition if India has to move forward and attain new heights of development.”Unity is our biggest strength… We have to move forward with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony,” he asserted at an event marking the 140th birth anniversary of Patel, against the backdrop of protests by artistes, writers and scientists over alleged “rising intolerance” after the Dadri lynching, beef row and other incidents.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi also used the occasion to take a dig at dynastic politics, saying it had become a bane of our politics and recalled that Patel never promoted any family member in political life.At the National Integration Day to mark birth anniversary of India’s first Deputy Prime Minister, where Modi flagged off ‘run for unity’, Modi asked people to take forwards Patel’s message that the nation can sacrifice anything for its unity.”If the country has to move forward and attain new heights of development, then the first guarantee is….Irrespective of our language and attachment of our feelings and ideology to any inspiration or system from Kashmir to Kanyakumari and Atak to Cuttuck, if our goal is to take Mother India to new heights in the world, then the first condition for that is unity, peace and harmony.”If 125 crore Indians with the mantra of unity, peace and harmony walk one step together shoulder to shoulder, then the country will move 125 crore steps in one go.”Our strength is a nation bound together by unity and which can sacrifice everything for unity and this is the message of Sardar sahab,” he said, recalling that Patel’s life was dedicated to national unity.The Prime Minister also announced that ‘Ek Bharat Shreshth Bharat’ scheme will soon be launched under which one state will choose another state each year and then promote its language and culture. “I have formed a small committee which is preparing its modalities,” he said. At the beginning of his speech, Modi also remembered former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi on her death anniversary, saying she sacrificed her life on this day and it cannot be forgotten.

PM Narendra Modi to flag off ‘Run For Unity’ tomorrow on Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary

On the eve of the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, the pledge of National Unity was administered at many offices of the Government of India in New Delhi today, the statement said.

PM Modi will address the people assembled at Rajpath for the “Run For Unity” and administer the pledge of unity to the assembled gathering.

File Photo
The 140th birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on Friday will be celebrated across the country, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi flagging off the ‘Run For Unity’ at Rajpath. The day is being celebrated as ‘Rashtriya Ekta Diwas’ (National Unity Day). The Prime Minister will first offer floral tributes at Sardar Patel statue on Parliament Street at 7.30 am, a PMO statement said. After this, he will address the people assembled at Rajpath for the “Run For Unity” and administer the pledge of unity to the assembled gathering, it added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Modi will then flag off the ‘Run For Unity’ from the lawns of Vijay Chowk around 8.15 am. The participation is voluntary and a large number of people including school-children and sports persons are expected to join the ‘Run for Unity’, the statement added. On the eve of the Rashtriya Ekta Diwas, the pledge of National Unity was administered at many offices of the Government of India in New Delhi today, the statement said.Celebrations are also being organised in states which Union Ministers would be attending at different places.

With 2017 Assembly polls in mind, Akhilesh Yadav govt announces Sardar Patel’s birth anniversary as holiday

The decision maybe taken by the Samajwadi Party government in view of elections for the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly due in early 2017.
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dna Research & Archives
In an apparent move to woo ‘Patel’ (Kurmi) community ahead of 2017 Assembly polls, Uttar Pradesh government is likely to declare a holiday on October 31 to mark Sardar Vallabh Bhai Patel’s birth anniversary.The decision is likely to be taken by Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav after Bundelkhand’s slain dacoit Dadua’s brother and former MP Bal Kumar Patel and his son, MLA from Patti (Pratapgarh) Ram Singh, met him in this regard with the request, official sources said.”He (CM) was of the view that holiday should be declared and asked us to give our demand in writing,” Bal Kumar said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”I want to draw your attention towards Sardar Patel whose contribution towards freedom struggle cannot be ignored. SP has always honoured great personalities and I request you to declare a public holiday on his birth anniversary,” SP MLA Ram Singh said in his letter to the chief minister.The decision maybe taken by the Samajwadi Party government in view of elections for the 403-member Uttar Pradesh Assembly due in early 2017.As Kurmi, an OBC community, which constitute nearly seven per cent of population, regards Sardar Patel as their icon, the party “feels” it would help them in wooing them in the state and they could counter BJP, which is going all out to encash Patel’s name. After the decision, the number of official holidays in Uttar Pradesh will reach 39.”With 39 public holidays a year, there has been a 50% increase in the state government’s list of public holidays in the past 10 years,” noted a senior official.The Samajwadi Party government had earlier declared a holiday on December 6, the death anniversary of Bhim Rao Ambedkar, which was seen as an attempt to appease Dalits.The Akhilesh Yadav government had also declared holidays on the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Chandrashekhar (April 17), Maharana Pratap (May 9), Maharishi Kashyap and Maharishi Nishadraj Jayanti (April 5), and Hazrat Ajmeri Garib Nawaj Urs (April 26) besides others. The SP government has also declared June 24 as public holiday in UP to mark socialist leader Karpoori Thakur’s birth anniversary.

Free Speech: Age of ban on media is over, says I&B Minister Arun Jaitley

The minister noted that while print media and to a large extent electronic media adopt discretions in their content, social media completely lacks such a mechanism.
File Photo
PTI
Information and Broadcasting Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said the “age of bans” on the media is over, observing that it is “literally impossible” to implement them.Delivering the Sardar Patel lecture organised by All India Radio (AIR) in New Delhi, Jaitley, who is also the Finance Minister, noted that while the right to freedom of expression has expanded in India through successive judicial verdicts and technological advances, its misuse continues to happen.”Many believe, and I am one of those who do believe, that the age of bans is now over. It is literally impossible if not very difficult to implement them,” he said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Should the state step in? As far as possible, no,” he said.The minister noted that while print media and to a large extent electronic media adopt discretions in their content, social media completely lacks such a mechanism. He pointed out that makers of the Constitution rightly held that freedom of speech and expression is not absolute and subject to reasonable restrictions which were specifically defined.”In a society where because of multi-religious, multi-cultural reasons there are sensitivities, what do we do if somebody crosses the Lakshman Rekha itself? What would the Indian society have done if instead of the Danish cartoonist, it would have been an Indian cartoonist? And therefore we have criminal laws in provision but then in extreme cases, very reluctantly so, some power of restraint in larger interest so that it doesn’t disturb public order, and that is where those 1950s restrictions imposed in Article 19(2) itself will have an important role to play,” he said.Jaitley said that in a changing media landscape, with the arrival of electronic media, news became more sensational.”News was what Television cameras could capture. What cameras can’t capture won’t be news. A major Africa summit will be some news, but a young girl returning home from Pakistan would be big news because the Television captures it differently,” he added.He said that there is now a difference between actual news and channel driven news.”As the marketeers of news express their right to free speech, the viewer or the reader’s right to information and knowledge itself is also getting impacted,” he said.Speaking about social media, he said while citizens have got a voice, it is an unregulated medium and there is also a large amount of false, defamatory and also damaging content. The minister said that in this situation, we have to rely on a sense of fairness of those who participate on social media.

‘Run for unity’ likely to be flagged off by PM Modi on October 31

Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday chaired a meeting and reviewed the preparation of the events along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior officials of different government ministries and departments.
File Photo
AFP photo
Prime Minister Narendra Modi is likely to flag off a ‘run for unity’ on October 31 as part of tribute to country’s first Home Minister Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel on his birth anniversary.The day, observed as ‘Ekta Divas’, will begin with paying tribute to the statute of Sardar at Patel Chowk, located on the Parliament Street in New Delhi, by the top leadership of the government. The function will be followed by the ‘run for unity’ that will start from Vijay Chowk to India gate. The Prime Minister is expected to flag off the run, a Home Ministry official said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday chaired a meeting and reviewed the preparation of the events along with Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and senior officials of different government ministries and departments.

Patel agitation: Hardik Patel’s detention sparks sporadic protests in Gujarat

An agitation was held for brief period in Bardoli town by some people but they soon called it off after police requested them not to resort to any kind of protest, said Bardoli town sub-inspector D R Vasava

Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti Conveyor Hardik Patel arrested by police on his way to protest in Cricket match from Rajkot Jamnagar Highway near Rajkot on Sunday.

PTI
Sporadic protests took places at few places in Gujarat while one state transport bus was set on fire in Morbi district following detention of Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel ahead of the ODI between Indian and South Africa at Rajkot on Sunday.”Some unidentified persons set afire a stationed ST bus at Mahendranagar area on the outskirts of Morbi city,” N S Malek, Inspector of B division police station in Morbi said, adding they were trying to trace the persons who are behind the incident. The officer said nobody was injured in the incident.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Meanwhile, two incidents of protests were reported in Bardoli and Surat.In Surat, Alpesh Kathiria, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in city and also a close associate of Hardik, held a demonstration at Kamrej area along with his supporters and tried to block National Highway no 8, following which he was detained.”Around 17 people, including Kathiria, were detained by the police for around four hours as they tried to block NH-8 at Kamrej area,” Police Control Room officer of Surat (Rural) Sunil Sinh said.An agitation was held for brief period in Bardoli town by some people but they soon called it off after police requested them not to resort to any kind of protest, said Bardoli town sub-inspector D R Vasava. Meanwhile, Kathiria alleged that cops treated the members of Patel community like “terrorists” and they will avenge the treatment meted out to them by the government by voting against the ruling BJP in the upcoming polls to local bodies.”We are descendants of Sardar Patel, but now the police have treated us like terrorists. Police have conducted atrocities on us, but we will not remain silent and will take the revenge of all these acts of the police,” Kathiria told reporters.He alleged that members of Patel community were segregated and not allowed to enter the cricket stadium in Rajkot where the ODI was held between India and South Africa.”Those who were wearing T-shirts of the so-called ‘Vikas Purus’ who created a myth about development in Gujarat — our Prime Minister Narendra Modi — are allowed to go inside the stadium, but our Patel brothers, who wore T-shirts of Sardar Patel, were not allowed to go inside the stadium,” he alleged.Earlier in the day, Hardik, along with his supporters was detained by police while he was on his way to Khandheri cricket stadium in Rajkot to attend the match. Meanwhile, Hardik still continues to be in detention.

Hardik Patel showered with money in public meet, video goes viral

Ahmedabad: A video clip purportedly showing Patel quota stir leader Hardik Patel being showered with currency notes at a public gathering in Surat district went viral on social media on Sunday.

The clip, which has been put up on social media portals, including Youtube, showed people showering currency notes on Hardik while he was speaking at a folk music function, ‘Dayro’, in Gosamada village of Surat in the wee hours of Sunday.

Screengrab from YouTube video.

Screengrab from YouTube video.

Hardik’s supporters are seen in the video raising slogans of ‘Jai Patidar, Jai Sardar’ even as the compere of the function appealed to the people not to shower currency notes.

Speaking at the function, 22-year-old Hardik asked Patels not to forget the atrocities their community members were subjected to during the tension that broke out in Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Surat districts and in other parts of the state in August.

“Do not forget the martyrdom of our nine Patidar youths… If this kind of enthusiasm (for the stir) will continue, then Saurashtra will also witness a 25 August rally like the one held in Ahmedabad,” he said even as a group of people continued to shower currency notes on him.

Hardik’s close aides Dinesh Bambhania and Ketan Patel were also seen on the stage.

Bambhania later said that the practice of showering currency notes at functions like ‘Dayro’ was very common.

“We held ‘Dayro’ in Gosamada village where people showered notes on Hardik. It is very common in Gujarat,” he said.

Hardik had earlier announced a Dayro programme as he was not given permission for a rally in Surat.

Watch the video below.

PTI

Kill policemen but don’t commit suicide: Hardik Patel tells youth

Sardar Patel Group (SPG) convener Lalji Patel, who was the first to start the agitation for reservation for Patels in OBC quota, distanced himself from Hardik’s advice.
File Photo
PTI
In a controversial remark, Hardik Patel, the 22 years old leader of the Patel quota stir, advised a youth from the community to rather kill policemen than commit suicide.”If you have so much courage…then go and kill a couple of policemen. Patels never commit suicide,” Hardik said in Surat, speaking to a local youth, Vipul Desai, who had announced that he would commit suicide in support of the agitation.Hardik visited Desai’s house on Saturday, accompanied by team of a local news-channel, which aired the conversation later.Desai told reporters later that Hardik advised him not to take his own life. “He gave me the advice that we are sons of Patels and we should kill two to three policemen rather than thinking of suicide,” Desai said.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Sardar Patel Group (SPG) convener Lalji Patel, who was the first to start the agitation for reservation for Patels in OBC quota, distanced himself from Hardik’s advice.”Our agitation is being run in Gandhian way, so we should not talk about killing anybody. That was not a right statement by him. We must not make such statements which can spark off a class conflict in the society,” Lalji said.”He should make sensible statements. As he has been accepted as the leader of the Patel community, such statements can harm our cause,” Lalji added.Later, Hardik denied that he gave such an advice. “I have not given any advice to kill policemen. This is an attempt to misguide the people. If I am seen giving such a statement in any video or audio, then action should be taken against me,” he said.The young leader has been hogging the limelight since the August 25 “mega-rally” of Patels in Ahmedabad and the subsequent violence across Gujarat.

Hardik’s abduction claim: Gujarat HC warns Patel and his lawyer for misusing court proceedings

A division bench of Justices M R Shah and K J Thaker, hearing a haebeas corpus petition filed by Hardik’s aide, said “no opinion is made about his illegal confinement” as prima facie the court is not satisfied with the allegations.
File Photo
PTI
Expressing doubts about his abduction claim, the Gujarat High Court on Thursday came down heavily on Patel quota spearhead Hardik Patel and warned him and his lawyer of contempt of court stating that they “misused” the court proceedings.A division bench of Justices M R Shah and K J Thaker, hearing a haebeas corpus petition filed by Hardik’s aide, said “no opinion is made about his illegal confinement” as prima facie the court is not satisfied with the allegations.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Prima facie, it appears that it required (for Hardik) to substantiate the allegations (made by him that he was abducted). Prima facie, we are not satisfied with the allegations (of abduction),” the court said.”If somebody tries to mislead the court proceedings, it cannot be tolerated or permitted. Nobody can take court proceedings for a ride. Looking at the seriousness of the matter, it is adjourned till September 29,” said the court.”We express no opinion at present whether the corpus (Hardik) was under illegal confinement of police or not. If there is any need of any FIR (against Hardik) , police may proceed as per law,” it said in the order.Hardik, who is spearheading the Patel community agitation for quota under OBC category, surfaced yesterday after his mysterious disapperance the previous night. He had claimed that he was abducted by “a person looking like a cop.”Earlier, his two aides Dinesh Patel and Ketan Patel had filed a habeas corpus plea through their lawyer B M Mangukia before the High Court alleging that the Patel leader was illegally confined by police.The High Court, after hearing the plea, had asked the state government to find Hardik. As Hardik resurfaced, Mangukia produced him before the High Court. During the hearing of the case today, the High Court observed that the Patel leader and his advocate “misused” the court proceedings and warned them of contempt of court proceedings.”Even before filing the habeas corpus petition, you went to the press, why suo motu cognisance for contempt of court should not be taken against you,” the High Court told Mangukia.”You have put the entire state machinery and the court at stake for one person. We have our own doubts about credentials of petitioners,” the bench observed.”We are not concerned with politics, we are only concerned with the prestige of the high court. The manner (in which) you addressed the media and corpus (Hardik) continuously gave statement before media that can be taken as contempt of court,” the HC said taking strong exception to the petitioner approaching it saying his life is under threat but Hardik and advocate were making statements to the press.”On forged allegations, the court was made to believe that someone’s life is in danger. Later it was found that for some oblique reasons of process, court’s proceeding was not used but misused,” the high court observed.The court also asked if the police protected Hardik, who appeared before the media from the place of his advocate, but was not arrested. The high court said the hearing was taken up as urgency was demonstrated by the advocate saying the life of a person is in danger and therefore the court permitted the post-midnight hearing.But when corpus was found on Wednesday, the advocate did not even bother to inform the high court about his appearance, it said. The court later directed Hardik to give his statement which he wrote in Gujarati and narrated the entire incident of his alleged abduction. Hardik’s lawyer gave an undertaking on behalf of his client that no agitation or programme call will be given by the Patel leader until next hearing on September 29. The High Court also said the police can access the phones of Mangukia, petitioners and Hardik if needed and later on assurance for the same was taken from Mangukia.During the hearing, Advocate General Kamal Trivedi asked the court to take suo motu cognisance for contempt of court for using the state machinery.”I myself want to cross-examine him (Hardik on his allegation of abduction). Let the truth come out to the world. If a single police personnel is found (guilty) in this case (of alleged abduction), then we will certainly take action against him,” Trivedi said.”They say they are followers of Sardar Patel, then they should obey the law and then serve the society,” said Trivedi.”This is a case of issuance of suo motu proceedings for contempt of court so that such things are never repeated in future,” he said.Trivedi also said he is being asked this question by many that why the high court gave preferential treatment to Hardik when thousands of habeas corpus cases are pending. He said the questions are of nature as “if the state has done some unusual thing,” adding the action of the quota leader was a “publicity stunt.”During the hearing when the Advocate General said the protests by Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel always moved in a non-violent and peaceful manner, the high court told him to “speak in Gujarati so that Hardik could also understand this.” Hardik had on Tuesday organised a public meeting in Bayad taluka of Aravali district allegedly without prior permission. After the meeting, police tried to detain him but according to IG Hasmukh Patel he managed to evade them.Police later registered an FIR against Hardik and 20 others for violating prohibitory orders. Yesterday, he surfaced and claimed that he was abducted.

CM Anandiben Patel invokes past cases of caste-based riots in Gujarat

The chief minister also underlined that her government wanted every community to prosper through development.
File Photo
dna Research & Archives
Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Thursday ticked off Patel community leader Hardik Patel for being oblivious about the caste and community-based riots that had charred the state in the past and appealed to people to avoid a potential “class conflict”.”We have to live with each other in the cities and in villages. There should not be any unnecessary tension in the society which results in class conflict. We have witnessed the results of such tensions in the past (in Gujarat). But these 25 or 30-year-old youths do not know anything as they have not seen that era of Gujarat,” Patel said without taking name of Hardik who is steering the quota agitation for Patidar community.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CM’s statement came against the backdrop of members of Patel community stepping up their agitation and implementing “economic boycott” by withdrawing their deposits from banks.”I have seen what happened in 1967, many of you must have seen what happened in 1985 and we have also seen what happened in year 1987,” she said referring to caste and community-based riots that had troubled Gujarat.The chief minister also underlined that her government wanted every community to prosper through development.”We do not want to deprive any of the communities from the fruits of development. We have to make attempts to instill peace in Gujarat. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of castes or creeds,” she said. She also hit out at the agitators who resorted to violence and vandalised private and public property last month after Hardik Patel’s rally in Ahmedabad.”Gujarat has achieved this development not because of government, but with the cooperation of six crore people of the state. Labour is needed for that. Labour is needed for development, but for destructing something, nothing much required,” she said.”When a road is being constructed, labour is needed, when a house is being made, labour is needed in that also…when somebody has to run his household then labour is needed…but people who only do damage or vandalise, they do not need to do anything,” the CM added.The CM also chided leaders of Patel quota stir for calling Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as their ideal.”Sardar Patel had done that (work of instilling peace and unity) only. Otherwise merger of more than 400 erstwhile princely states could not have become possible. If that had not been done, what would have been the situation of Gujarat today,” she asked.”That time Sardar Patel had united the country and we are following footsteps of Sardar Patel. There cannot be a rift between communities in Gujarat at all,” the CM said.Anandiben stressed that there is no discrimination against members of any community in the state.”Why should there be a rift between communities. All of them are getting their rights. All are getting water in all villages. If roads are constructed, all are walking on it. If schools are opened, children of all the communities study there. There is no discrimination in that,” she said.She also dismissed as “humbug” Hardik’s statements that students of general category fail to secure admission in medical and engineering colleges because of the reservation system.”The state government is working to give people their rights whatever they deserve. They all have a faith in government. This government does not want to do injustice to anybody. Nobody comes and says what kind of injustice is done to them. Only humbug talks are being done outside. Everybody gets admission in engineering, even seats remain unclaimed,” the CM said.”There are 3,250 medical seats and admissions are given as per norms. But if some poor students cannot afford to get admission in those faculties then government is ready to help such students,” she said.The CM said government opens new colleges to accommodate students.”Every year government opens around ten to twelve new colleges,” she added.

Patel vs Patel: OBC agitation sees rift after Hardik’s mentor Lalji Patel exits coalition

Two weeks after an unprecedented show of strength by the Patel community, a coalition which had sought OBC status for the community has seen a split. The Hindustan Times has reported that the Sardar Patel Group has parted ways with the umbrella group, citing differences with the group led by Hardik Patel.

Image courtesy: PTIImage courtesy: PTI

Image courtesy: PTI

“We are not with an individual but with the cause,” the report quoted the breakaway group’s leader Lalji Patel as saying.

Last week, the Indian Express had quoted Lalji Patel as saying that Hardik outwitted him by using social media effectively. Lalji was quoted as saying that while he gave Hardik Patel the responsibility of handling the social media, Hardik created the impression that he was running the movement.

He is further said to have claimed that when Lalji asked him for the password for the social media accounts, he gave an incorrect password to him.

According to the HT report, while Hardik Patel has taken an aggressive approach, Lalji Patel espouses a more gradual approach. It said that after the two groups have parted ways, Hardik has been facing difficulties in keeping the protests going as about a million Sardar Patel Group members will now be staying away.

Lalji Patel had earlier said that no one person was the leader of the agitation, and that it was a protest by the entire community. He had then said that all the leaders of the Patidar communities had decided to merge all existing communities into one single entity.

Patel agitation goes global: Patidar community in US vow to boycott PM Modi’s visit

More than 1,000 Patels on Tuesday held a meeting in Edison town of New Jersey in US to extend their support to protests being organised by their brethren in Ahmedabad, Sardar Patel Group (SPG) leader Lalji Patel said.
File Photo
AFP photo
To mount pressure on government for reservation under OBC quota, the Patidar or Patel community members living in the US today announced to “boycott” Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s forthcoming visit there for delivering him a “strong message” on the issue.More than 1,000 Patels today held a meeting in Edison town of New Jersey in US to extend their support to protests being organised by their brethren here, Sardar Patel Group (SPG) leader Lalji Patel said here. SPG disassociated itself from Hardik Patel-led Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) after their mega rally on August 25 here and is running a parallel movement to press for the quota demand.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”Patels living in US have come forward and extended their support to our cause. Today, more than 1,000 Patels living in Edison held a meeting and extended support to us. They have announced to boycott PM Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit in US,” he said.Lalji said Patels in US always participated with great enthusiasm during such visits of PM.”But now, the Patel community in US wants to give a strong message to PM who has not taken any decision about (granting) reservation to Patels. Thus, we have decided to stay away from his programme in US,” he said.Lalji added that Patels will also stay away from any programme of Gujarat government as part of their ongoing stir. The US-based Patels have also asked their community in Gujarat to stop paying taxes to government.”Not just US, Patels will also stay away from any state government programme in Gujarat. Our US-based members also appealed to us to stop paying taxes to mount pressure on government. We will convey this message to our community to implement it in coming days,” said Lalji.Modi is supposed to visit California later this month.

Hardik Patel launches Patel Navnirman Sena, announces major stir across India

The combined strength of these of Patels, Kurmis and Gujjars who are supporting PN,S is more than 27 crore in India.

Hardik claims Kurmis and Gujjars belong to Patel community and called by these names outside Gujarat (File Photo)

PTI
The Patel quota agitation leader on Tuesday unveiled his national plans by announcing the launch of a new outfit which will bring Patels as well as other affiliated communities under one umbrella to press for their inclusion in OBC list. ‘Patel Navnirman Sena (PNS)’ will work towards bringing Patels (Patidars) and affiliated communities such as Kurmis and Gujjars under one platform to press for their demand for reservation in Government jobs and education under OBC category, said the agitation leader Hardik Patel.Announcing plans to hold a series of rallies in coming months to take forward their campaign, Hardik said PNS’ units have been formed in 16 States and he was today unanimously elected as its National President.Hardik claims Kurmis and Gujjars belong to Patel community and called by these names outside Gujarat.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The combined strength of these three communities is more than 27 crore in India, said the 22-year-old commerce graduate who shot into limelight when Patels launched a stir in Gujarat in support of their demand for reservation. “Till now, more than 7.8 lakh members of Kurmi-Patel communities have joined PNS. We will hold 16 rallies in 16 different states during the next 12 months. We expect that more than 4 lakh of our members will participate in each of these mega rallies,” Hardik said.To press for demand for reservation to Kurmi-Patels under OBC quota in Uttar Pradesh, Hardik said the outfit will organise a mega meet in Lucknow next month. “On October 31, which is the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, our organisation will take out a mega rally in Lucknow to demand reservation for Kurmi-Patels,” he said. The show of strength exercise will then move to New Delhi, where the young leader addressed a gathering of Gujjar and Kurmi communities late last month. “After a gap of around one-and-a-half months, we will take out a massive rally in Delhi. We expect more than 50 lakh of our members to participate in that rally,” said Hardik.On August 25, Hardik-led Patidar Ananmat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), which has been spearheading the quota stir in Gujarat, held a mammoth gathering of Patels in Ahmedabad. After his brief detention that day, violence erupted across the State, which claimed 10 lives and caused extensive damage to public property.

No one is leader of Patel agitation, not even Hardik, says SPG member

Ahmedabad: In a clear sign of rift in the Patels’ agitation for reservation, Lalji Patel, who had played a prominent role at the beginning of the stir, on Thursday said that “no single person was the leader of the movement”.

“No one is the leader of the agitation, this is an agitation of the entire community….not me or even Hardik bhai. This agitation has been led by all soldiers of Patel community,” said Lalji, who heads Sardar Patel Group (SPG).

Hardik Patel. Agencies

Hardik Patel. Agencies

Patel, who had mentored Hardik when latter joined the SPG, was answering the reporters’ question whether he saw the 22-year-old as the leader of the agitation.

Further, Lalji said, a new team would be formed to take the agitation forward.

“All the senior members of the Patidar communities have decided to merge all existing committees or associations leading the quota agitation, into a single team of Gujarat. This team will lead this agitation,” he said, indicating that Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti would be sidelined.

“This agitation is not for a single leader,” he said.

When asked if community members would face any confusion while choosing between him and Hardik, Lalji reiterated that there was no single leader of the movement.

Hardik had been entrusted with looking after social media affairs of the SPG (before he virtually became the face of the agitation), he said.

“Hardik has been skillfully handling social media for the community. He has so far handled it perfectly and I hope he will continue to do that job,” said Lalji.

Hardik hogged the national headlines after his aggressive speech at 25 August mega-rally of Patels in Ahmedabad, and the violence which followed across Gujarat. Ten people were killed in the agitation.

PTI

Ahmedabad: Centre rushes army in after Narendra Modi reviews situation on Patel quota agitation

Wary of the situation, Modi himself came to appeal on camera to the people of his home state. Speaking in Gujarati and invoking Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Modi just stopped short of putting the blame.

Image courtesy: ANI
As the situation remains tense in the Patidar reservation-riot hit Gujarat that has left 7 people dead and ravaged property worth crores, Centre on Wednesday rushed 5,000 paramilitary personnel and five columns of army to carry out flag march in Ahmedabad after reviewing the situation at the top level.Wary of the situation, Modi himself came to appeal on camera to the people of his home state. Speaking in Gujarati and invoking Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, Modi just stopped short of putting the blame.”Since yesterday, the type of atmosphere that is building up in the land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel, the manner in which violence is being used as a tool… we all know that violence serves no purpose,” said Modi.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”We have always believed that the development of the state is possible only if we all walk together and stay united. It is my appeal to my brothers and sisters that the occasion calls for a single mantra – “peace”. Each and every issue can be resolved through talks,” said Modi.Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Gujarat chief minister Anandiben Patel on Wednesday morning and then again in the evening, and assured her full Central help to tackle the situation.”The home ministry is in constant touch with the Gujarat government and additional forces have been rushed as requested by the state government. We do not want to take any chance as call was given for a state-wide bandh,” a senior official said.The prompt Central government action came considering that Gujarat has witnessed many communal clashes in the past and situation can turn serious, the official said.

Violence in Ahmedabad after Hardik Patel detained: Decoding Patels community’s demand for OBC status

The agitation seeking reservations for the Patel community raised the stakes on Tuesday with leaders of the community going on a fast unto death at Ahmedabad, saying that they wouldn’t call it off until Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel came to receive their memorandum seeking the community’s inclusion in the other backward castes category. Later, the leader of the agitation Hardik Patel was detained by the police only to be released after his followers went on the rampage.

Here’s all you need to know about the agitation:

What’s the agitation about?

The Patel rally saw over in attendance. PTI

The Patel rally in Ahmedabad on Tuesday. PTI

The Patidars also known as Patel community claim that they’ve received ‘no benefits since India became independent’ and are seeking reservations for the community. At one point, they were also open to the idea of a Vikas Aayog (development commission) for the community but now seem set on getting reservations.

The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which is spearheading the agitation, had claimed that the social, financial and educational conditions available to the community have been steadily deteriorating, The organisation has claimed that the community is mainly engaged in seasonal occupations and needs reservations in education and government jobs to help them tide over difficult times.

As this detailed NDTV report on the caste equations in Gujarat points out, the community has been strongly against the basis for reservation. However, the community has begun seeking reservations as traditional sources of income are seen to be drying up, and a section of the community has been given a category of reservation.

Who’s heading it?

A 22-year-old is the face of the agitation that has been gathering steam in the state. Hardik Patel has been making headlines as he’s gone from strength to strength heading the agitation. A graduate in commerce, Patel’s family is in the business of supplying water in Viramgram near Ahmedabad and he had started the Sardar Patel Group at the time, according to an Economic Times report. Patel had started the Sardar Patel Group in 2011, in order ‘to protect women’ from the community.

He launched the movement for reservations in July by heading the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti after leaving the business to a partner and though his father is a BJP worker, Patel told the Indian Express that he had no political loyalties. And he’s committed to getting reservations for the community.

“First, we follow the path shown by Gandhiji and Sardar Patel but, if required, we can become Bhagat Singh too,” he said.

What’s the government saying? 

Despite the fact that the Patel community constitutes a major vote bank in the state, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has shown no signs of relenting to the demand for reservations.

“As per the Constitution and judgments of the Supreme Court, we cannot make any changes in the structure of reservations for SCs, STs and OBCs, nor can we give reservation beyond 50 percent,” she said in a message to the state that was both published in print and broadcast by video.

She has said that other state governments had tried similar things in the past, alluding to the Jat reservation that had been struck down by the apex court, and added that the state government didn’t want to “make fake promises”.

The state’s health minister also had said that the government could consider a special scheme for general category students under which the state would bear educational expenses.

“The state government is preparing a scheme to provide financial assistance to all non-reservation category students, including Patels. Under this scheme, the state government will bear various educational expenses, like tuition fees and hostel fees of these students,” Gujarat Health Minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel said.

However, none of these schemes have been accepted by the Sardar Patel group.

Are RSS and Sangh Parivar fuelling the agitation?

The RSS is reportedly worried about the agitation and according to this report is working on resolving the crisis. But then there’s another report which claims that the organisation could be backing the stir to get reservation criteria re-organised on the basis of economic criteria rather than caste.

The Sangh Parivar reportedly believes that if the major castes in states demand reservations it brings the focus on realignment of caste reservation based on economic criteria and it would also help upper caste communities to avail of quotas in education and jobs, reports the Economic Times. The report quoted an unnamed Sangh leader as saying that the Patel stir helps “create an environment” across the country that will allow reservation policies to be altered.

What other castes are saying

The Other Backward Castes community isn’t taking the agitation lying down and doesn’t want the state government to give in to the demands of the Patel community. A Hindu report quotes a leader of the Save Reservation Committee, an organisations created by various OBC communities as saying that they won’t allow for a quota being carved out of theirs to give reservations to the Patel community.

“We strongly condemn the way in which Patels are pressurising the government to get reservation by threatening to uproot government in 2017. I want to warn this government not to take our patience for granted,” Alpesh Thakor the head of the organisation said in a rally on Monday.

Patels account for only 12 percent of the state’s population, while OBCs, SCs and STs make up 78 percent. “If the Patels will be given even one percent reservation, this government may no longer remain in power in this year itself, forget about 2017,” he said.

The OBC leaders have argued that the Patel community that constitutes a small percentage of the state’s population, cannot be included in their reservation category under any circumstances. The fear of a clash between the different castes is presumably what is prompting the state government to maintain high security for the Patel agitation.

with inputs from PTI

Patel community quota row: Gujarat mulls scheme for general category students

Under this scheme, the state government will bear various educational expenses, like tuition fees and hostel fees of these students

Patel community is now gearing up to hold a mega rally in the city on August 25 as a show of strength

Amid widespread protests by the Patel community demanding reservations in government jobs under OBC quota, the Gujarat government is considering a special scheme for general category students who don’t enjoy such benefit. “The state government is preparing a scheme to provide financial assistance to all non-reservation category students, including Patels. Under this scheme, the state government will bear various educational expenses, like tuition fees and hostel fees of these students,” Gujarat Health Minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel said on Friday.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>However, Lalji Patel who leads the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), which is now a part of the Patel community umbrella organisation called Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti that spearheads the Patel quota agitation, refused to accept any such scheme. “We don’t want any such schemes. We only want reservation in education and jobs. Our agitation will not stop until our demands are met,” Lalji Patel of the Sardar Patel Group said.Meanwhile, the Patel community held massive rallies in Vadodara, Bharuch and Ankleshwar in Southern Gujarat, as part of their statewide agitation. Incidentally, a seven-member committee headed by Gujarat Health Minister and government spokesperson Nitin Patel held a meeting with Patel leaders earlier, but it ended without any breakthrough.Meanwhile, the Patel community is now gearing up to hold a mega rally in the city on August 25 as a show of strength, after the police granted them permission yesterday, even as its organisers claim that around 20 lakh Patels would participate.Considering the scale of the Patel rally, Nitin Patel cautioned organisers to be careful of “anti-national” elements. “We have to be very vigilant when such a large number of people gather at one place. I want to advise organisers to be more careful. They should not let anti-national and anti-social elements take advantage of the situation,” Patel said.

OBC quota: No progress in first meeting between Patel leaders, Gujarat government

The first meeting between the Gujarat government and the leaders of Patel community which is seeking reservations under the OBC category on Monday failed to achieve any breakthrough.

Anandiben Patel

The first meeting between the Gujarat government and the leaders of Patel community which is seeking reservations under the OBC category on Monday failed to achieve any breakthrough.After the meeting with a 7-member committee of Gujarat government headed by Health Minister Nitin Patel, spokesperson of Sardar Patel Group (SPG), PC Patel, said it was fruitless.”We told the government that our one and only demand is that Patels must be included under OBC quota. We will not settle for anything less. But the government didn’t give any assurance today,” he said at a press conference.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”They (the committee) promised us scholarships, financial assistance. They also promised to form a commission to ensure our development. But we refused these offers.”The committee members told us that they will put forward the issue before the Chief Minister and then call us once again for a meeting. But no specific date was given. We said our agitation will not stop till our demands are met,” he said.Lalji Patel, another SPG leader, said Patel leaders will form an umbrella committee of 125 members. “We will form a committee of 125 members who will represent all the small groups and committees. It will decide our future roadmap…We will not back down till we get reservations,” said Lalji Patel. Nitin Patel said such issues couldn’t be resolved in a single meeting.

Nine dams in Gujarat filled to brim due to incessant rains

With this recent spell of showers, Gujarat’s average rainfall for the season now stands at 51.67 per cent, in which, Kutch received 82.17 per cent, north Gujarat 68.22 per cent, east-central region 39.94 per cent, Saurashtra 58.33 per cent and south Gujarat received 42.35 per cent, the release said.

Men ride on a motorcycle through a flooded road after heavy rains in Ahmedabad, Gujarat July 28, 2015.

Reuters
With continual rains lashing parts of Gujarat, so far nine of the total 202 small and large dams and reservoirs in the state have filled to the capacity, a government release said on Tuesday.Water level in Sardar Sarovar Dam on Narmada river touched the mark of 120.72 meters on Tuesday, just a meter away from the dam height of 121.92 meters, the release said.As per the government figures, three of the 137 dams in Saurashtra region, four out of 20 in Kutch region, one out of 17 in central Gujarat region and one out of 13 dams in south Gujarat have filled to the brim. With the continuous inflow of water, 17 dams were put on high-alert, while 10 others on alert, as they have filled up to 80 to 90 per cent, the release added.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Apart from these 27 dams, nine other dams are filled up 70 to 80 per cent of their total capacity, while the remaining 166 dams are having less than 70 per cent of water of their holding capacity, stated the release.With this recent spell of showers, Gujarat’s average rainfall for the season now stands at 51.67 per cent, in which, Kutch received 82.17 per cent, north Gujarat 68.22 per cent, east-central region 39.94 per cent, Saurashtra 58.33 per cent and south Gujarat received 42.35 per cent, the release said.

Former Gujarat Chief Secretary Achal Kumar Jyoti appointed as Election Commissioner

Born on January 23, 1953, Jyoti will have a tenure of nearly three years, when he will turn 65, the age at which ECs demit office under the Constitution.

Achal Kumar Jyoti, a former Chief Secretary during the tenure of Narendra Modi as Gujarat Chief Minister, was on Thursday appointed as the Election Commissioner, filling one of the two vacancies in the three-member body.The appointment of Jyoti (62), who retired from active service in January, 2013 after serving in various capacities in Gujarat including as Chairman of the Kandla Port Trust between 1999 and 2004 and Managing Director of the Sardar Sarovar Narmada Nigam Ltd (SSNNL).His tenure as EC will commence from the day he assumes charge, a Law Ministry notification said today.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Born on January 23, 1953, Jyoti will have a tenure of nearly three years, when he will turn 65, the age at which ECs demit office under the Constitution.An EC or a CEC has a tenure of six years in office or till he or she attains the age of 65 years, whichever is earlier.After V S Sampath demitted office in January, H S Brahma was elevated as CEC. But after Brahma demitted office, two posts of ECs in the three-member body have remained vacant.Between April 19, when Nasim Zaidi took over as the CEC till today, he was the only member in the poll body.In the coming days, the government will appoint one more Election Commissioner to fill up the last vacancy.He has also worked as Secretary in the Industry, Revenue and Water Supply Departments.

Now, Bhagat Singh’s nephew claims martyr’s family kept under watch

Amid controversy over Intelligence Bureau keeping relatives of Subhash Chandra Bose under close watch, kin of ‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ Bhagat Singh on Saturday claimed that the martyr’s family had also been kept under “surveillance” for several years and demanded that the government declassify all files pertaining to him.

Amid controversy over Intelligence Bureau keeping relatives of Subhash Chandra Bose under close watch, kin of ‘Shaheed-e-Azam’ Bhagat Singh on Saturday claimed that the martyr’s family had also been kept under “surveillance” for several years and demanded that the government declassify all files pertaining to him.”Our family had been under surveillance for years. Our phone conversations, too, had been under the scanner for years,” Bhagat Singh’s 57-year-old nephew, Abhay Singh Sandhu told reporters in Mohali.<!– Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>He said the family had been on the radar since the British rule and claimed that “even after the country gained freedom, we were under watch of the intelligence agencies.” Sandhu also demanded that the files pertaining to Sardar Ajit Singh, a freedom fighter and uncle of Bhagat Singh, also be declassified.”We want to know everything which the then British Government wrote about Sardar Ajit Singh and Shaheed Bhagat Singh. All records should be declassified. Why should Government hide (records). We are hoping that the present Central government will take a step in this regard soon,” Sandhu said.Sandhu is son of Bhagat Singh’s younger brother Sardar Kulbir Singh, who was born in 1914 and was Jansangh MLA from Ferozepur.”My father, late Sardar Kulbir Singh, tried to obtain files or records pertaining to the two which have been kept in National Archives in Delhi,” Sandhu said, adding over the years they had been told that the files were “secret” and not transferable for 20-30 years.”My father passed away in 1983, but even after that when we tried to raise the demand we were given the same answer”, he alleged. He said his family tried to access the documents even after Kulbir Singh’s death but in vain.

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