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Quota row: RSS hits out at Hardik,Patels puts pressure on banks

Hardik Patel 22-year-old firebrand leader of Patidar Andolan Samiti during a gujjar community programme in New Delhi on sunday.
Photo by Shekhar Yadav
Hardik Patel 22-year-old firebrand leader of Patidar Andolan Samiti during a gujjar community programme in New Delhi on sunday. Photo by Shekhar Yadav

Ahmedabad: Breaking its silence on the Patel community stir for OBC quota, the RSS on Wednesday hit out at the campaign spearhead Hardik Patel for his aggressive warnings at a mega rally in Ahmedabad, cautioning that the social fabric will be “destroyed” if the movement is allowed to become “divisive”.

The comments by a senior RSS functionary came even as more Patel community members withdrew deposits from a bank in a village on Wednesday as part of their ‘economic non-cooperation’ campaign and women from the community were enlisted to hold protests at government and BJP functions. RSS national spokesperson Manmohan Vaidya was expressing the views of the Sangh Parivar fountainhead on the quota issue that has posed a challenge to the BJP Government headed by Anandiben Patel.

The RSS, however, made it clear that it supported the reservation for SCs and STs in its present format so long as social inequality exists. “In democracy, every person has a freedom to express his thoughts and to press his demands and nobody is denying that. But the agitation should neither divide society nor harm the country. One should take care that elements who divide the society or create anarchy shall not be included in the ongoing movement (of Patels),” Vaidya said in an interview to be carried in the forthcoming issue of the outfit’s weekly periodical ‘Sadhana’.

“The reason is the words uttered by Hardik Patel like ‘will show our status to entire India’ or ‘will burn Ravana’s Lanka’. Using such language can cause worry for any patriot. Such a movement can destroy (the fabric of) society,” Vaidya said while referring to the August 25 mega rally here. State spokesperson of RSS Pradip Jain confirmed that the views of Vaidya were published in ‘Sadhana’, an advance copy of which is with PTI.

Meanwhile, scores of account holders belonging to the Patel community turned up at the Kherol village branch of Sabarkantha District Co-operative bank seeking to withdraw a whopping sum of Rs 9 crore, a demand which the branch found it difficult to meet immediately. “Around 200 members of the Patel community, who are associated with the agitation came to our bank to withdraw their money,” branch manager of the District Cooperative Bank in Kherol village, Rakesh Mehta told PTI.

“We could not give them entire money, which is around Rs nine crore from three thousand account-holders of the Patel community, so we just gave them around Rs ten lakh today,” Mehta said. The Patel outfit also enlisted women from the community to hold protests against the Government and the BJP functions in many places across the state.