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Quota row: Hardik Patel renames controversial ‘reverse Dandi Yatra’ as ‘Ekta Yatra’

Ahmedabad :Patel quota agitation leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday renamed his controversial ‘reverse Dandi Yatra’ as ‘Ekta Yatra’ as he met Chief Minister Anandiben Patel during which he demanded suspension of cops who used force during the August 25 rally and release of those held.

After the first face-to-face between Patel and the Chief Minister, the government said the community leaders will have to approach the state OBC Commission over the demand of reservations under the OBC quota.

Government spokesperson Nitin Patel also claimed that Patel leaders agreed to approach the Commission.

The meeting between Patel leaders including Hardik Patel and Lalji Patel with the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and senior ministers went on for over three hours at the Chief Minister’s residence here.

“The meeting cannot be said to be a success or a failure as the state government has sought time from us for our demands regarding action for police atrocities on our community members, and we have told them that our agitation will continue till they take effective steps,” Hardik Patel said while emerging from the meeting.

“We have decided to rename our ‘reverse Dandi Yatra’ as ‘Ekta Yatra’ and it will start from September 19. We will also organise public meetings in five big cities of the state,” he said.

He said he had put forth some demands and the state government has been given 10 days to take decisions on the issues raised by us during the meeting.

“Our main demands include suspension of police officers who were involved in atrocities on community members at GMDC ground on August 25 and registration of murder cases against police inspectors and sub-inspectors in whose areas Patel youths were killed following the violence,” he said.

“We have also demanded that all those arrested for the violence (after August 25 rally and in its aftermath) should be released and no further arrests should take place. We have also asked the state government to offer free treatment to all those who were injured during the violence,” Patel said.

“The government sought some time saying they have to examine what can be done as most cases are in courts now,” Hardik said.

When asked if the reservation issue was discussed, Hardik said it came up, but Patel leaders told the government that it first needed to deal with the issue of police excesses.