Ahmedabad: Patidar leader Hardik Patel, whose indefinite fast continued on the 16th day on Sunday, was discharged from a private hospital and taken home from where he intends to continue with his indefinite hunger strike.
A key community organisation pledged support to the agitating leader while processions were taken out in north Gujarat to back him.
After the state government refused permission for any venue for his agitation, the 25-year-old Patidar leader on August 25 launched an indefinite fast from his home to press for his demands for reservation in government jobs and educational institutions for his community, debt waiver for farmers and release of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Alpesh Kathiria, who has been jailed on sedition charge.
As his health deteriorated, Patel was first shifted to the Sola Civil Hospital on Friday and later moved to a private trust-run SGVP Holistic Hospital. He was discharged on Sunday but he continued his fast from the hospital bed.
Before his discharge, Patel told his supporters through a Facebook Live message that he would continue his hunger strike from his residence.
He, meanwhile, also alleged in a tweet that a police officer had threatened to kill him when he was brought out of the hospital.
Leading Patidar organisation, Shri Umiya Mataji Sansthan, Unjha, on Sunday held a meeting and resolved to support Hardik Patel in his agitation till the state agreed to his demands.
“We pledged support to Hardik on his demand for debt waiver and release of Alpesh Kathiria,” Sansthan’s Chairman Dilip Patel told reporters.
As a mark of solidarity, a large number of people from the Patidar community took out a march from Patan to Unjha, a distance of 30 km, in the Patidar-dominated Mehsana district in north Gujarat in support of Hardik Patel.
Congress MLAs Lalit Vasoya and Asha Patel joined the “padyatra”. People walked from Patan to offer prayers to their family deity, goddess Umiya, at the temple in Unjha.
A posse of police was deployed at the entrance to Greenwoods housing colony where Hardik Patel resides, and prevented mediapersons from following him. Some reporters were even pushed around and baton-charged by the police.
Ahmedabad Police Commissioner A.K. Singh later ordered an inquiry into police action against journalists after their protest while Joint Commissioner of Police J.K. Bhatt spoke to them to cool the tempers.
In his Twitter message, Hardik Patel condemned the “attack” on the media. He said the deployment of police reminded him of “angrez hukumat” (British rule).