Hardik Patel Declares Will On Day 9 Of Hunger Strike Over Quota
AHMEDABAD: Patidar leader Hardik Patel unveiled his "will" on the ninth day of his indefinite fast on Sunday, demanding reservation for the community and farm loan waiver.
The quota leader has divided his property among his parents, a sister, 14 youths killed during the quota agitation in 2015 and a 'Panjrapole' (shelter for ill and old cows) near his village, a Patidar leader said.
"Hardik Patel has expressed his wish to donate his eyes in case of his death," Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) spokesperson Manoj Panara told reporters at Hardik's residence near Ahmedabad where he has been observing fast since August 25.
While leaders and representatives from various political parties, including the Trinamool Congress, Nationalist Congress Party and Rashtriya Janata Dal, have visited the 25-year-old quota spearhead in the last nine days, the BJP government has so far not intervened.
Among the delegates who visited Hardik Patel on Sunday included former Bihar chief minister and Hindustani Awami Morcha (HAM) chief Jitan Ram Manjhi and leader of Opposition in the Gujarat Assembly Paresh Dhanani of the Congress.
"Hardik Patel's health is deteriorating. He has not eaten food in the last nine days. He didn't drink water in the last 36 hours," Mr Panara claimed. He said Mr Patel has prepared his will while "considering the doctor's advice regarding his deteriorating health".
"As per the will, Hardik has Rs. 50,000 in his bank account, of which Rs. 20,000 will go to his parents and the rest to a Panjrapole near his native village in Gujarat.
"Royalty from the book on his life 'Who Took My Job', which is currently under publication, as well as insurance money and the money collected after selling a car owned by him will be divided among his parents, his sister and the family members of the 14 Patidars who sacrificed their life during the agitation three years ago," Mr Panara claimed.
He said 15 per cent of the total money will go to Hardik Patel's parents, another 15 per cent to his sister, and rest 70 per cent to the family members of the 14 Patidars. A doctor from a government hospital who visited the Patidar leader today said he has advised the quota leader to get admitted to the hospital considering his health.
"We have advised him to be admitted to the hospital. His urine and blood pressure is normal, but Hardik has refused blood and urine tests," the doctor said.
Mr Manjhi said that the government was not "sensitive" towards Mr Patel's demand for reservation to members of the Patidar community. "If the government was sensitive, it would have amended the Constitution to increase the reservation from 49.5 per cent to 70-80 per cent. It is there in some states. In Tamil Nadu, quota percentage is around 70 per cent, then why not here?" he asked.
Mr Dhanani said the state government should listen to the protesters sensitively and address the issues concerning farmers in the state. "The BJP government is trying to suppress and crush the voice of people with baton. The protesters are trying to bring up the issues of the farmers and weaker sections, but the government is instead trying to crush the protest," Mr Dhanani alleged.
He alleged that while Hardik is trying to raise the issues of farmers, the state government has converted 18,000 villages into "fortresses" to prevent his supporters from reaching the venue of Hardik's fast. "The government should adopt a positive stand and listen to what the protesters have to say," Mr Dhanani said.
Some supporters of Hardik have alleged that they were baton-charged by the police when they approached his residence to meet him.
Mr Patel had launched his hunger strike on the third anniversary of his mega pro-quota rally in Ahmedabad that had turned violent. He is demanding a loan waiver for farmers and quota for Patidars in government jobs and education under the Other Backward Class category.