Hardik demands release of Patels convicted in 2002 riots cases

Ahmedabad: Quota agitation spearhead Hardik Patel has demanded the release of Patel youths convicted in various riots cases of 2002, but alleged that Prime Minister Narendra Modi would not facilitate it as he now wants to project himself as a secular” leader to the world.

Patel in a letter to Modi, has listed 102 Patel community members, who have been awarded life imprisonment in different riot cases of 2002.

“Everybody knows that Narendra Modi first became chief minister of Gujarat taking the benefit of 2002 riots and then become Prime Minister of the country,” Hardik Patel said in a letter addressed to Modi accusing him of being responsible for the carnage.

“Many Patidar youths have been sentenced (by courts) in riots cases. I have given a list below,” he said in the letter.

Patel is at present residing in Udaipur, as he has been asked to stay outside Gujarat by the State High Court as part of one of his bail conditions.

“All these Patel youths are rotting in jails of Gujarat. Modiji is now Prime Minister. He can recommend to the President for release of Patel youths involved in riots and get them released,” Hardik said in the letter.

“But, I know Modiji will not do that as he wants to show the country and the world that he is a secular person. Modiji has misused Gujaratis and particularly Patidars,” Hardik alleged.

He then goes on to give a list of various riots cases and number of youths convicted by courts in this connection.

A year back, Hardik had started his agitation with a demand for inclusion of his community in the OBC category for reservation.

Violence had erupted after he held a mega rally here on August 25 last year in which government and private property worth crores of rupees were damaged and 11 persons, including one policemen, were killed.

Later, he was arrested on sedition charges and spent about nine months in jail. He was released thereafter following which he formed a new team for his agitation.

His old associates like Ketan Patel and Chirag Patel, who were co-accused in sedition case with him have alleged that the young leader has amassed wealth in the name of Patel quota agitation. They have also accused him of ruining the agitation due to his ambition of becoming a leader at a young age.