2:01 pm - Friday June 21, 2024

We are not beggars: Patels demand reservation at Ahmedabad rally

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Gujarat’s Patel community on Tuesday organised a mega rally under the leadership of 21-year-old Hardik Patel in Ahmedabad to press for reservations under the OBC quota.

“We are not beggars. What we are asking for is our right,” said Hardik Patel, who is the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, while addressing the rally.

“If the government doesn’t fulfill our demand then we will not let the lotus blossom in 2017,” he added.

Patels are unrelenting in their demand even though chief minister Anandiben Patel on Sunday expressed inability to include the community in the OBC category and requested the leaders to end the agitation and come forward for negotiations. Her video message was repeatedly aired on local TV channels.

Security has been heightened in the city for the public meeting and the rally for which police gave permission on Monday. Police have declared some of the main roads as no-go areas and requested people not to leave their house unless there is an emergency.

Police commissioner Shivanand Jha said foolproof security arrangements have been made, and that more than 17,000 police personnel – including 20 superintendents of police, 62 deputy SPs, 244 inspectors, 504 sub-inspectors, 13,000 constables and head constables and 817 policewomen – would be deployed.

“We also request the citizens not to leave their homes unless there is emergency. In case of an emergency, people can contact police and we will do the needful,” said Jha.

“Twenty eight companies of State Reserve Police, two units of Chetak commandos (a total 150 personnel), four companies of the Rapid Action force and 21 Quick Response Teams will also be deployed,” the police commissioner said.

“We will also conduct an aerial survey by using four Netras (unmanned aerial vehicles). One will be used exclusively for traffic, two will be placed at the rally venue and the fourth will monitor the situation in the city,” he added.

“Six command and control vehicles with CCTV cameras will be used at the rally. A total of 600 CCTV cameras have been installed in the city. We will also place 11 ‘Varun’ water cannons at strategic positions and 35 units of ‘Vajra’ tear gas vehicles.”

Jha also said that 20 bomb disposal and detection squads will be deployed at the rally, adding all the armoured vehicles from across the state have been brought into the city.

As many as 1,838 persons were put into preventive detention by the city police from August 11 to 22.

“We have also told hospitals to be prepared if any untoward incident takes place. Police have checked various hotels and other places where terrorists are suspected to take shelter. All such places are being checked,” he said.

The commissioner warned people against spreading rumours through mobile phone messages, WhatsApp or internet. Those spreading rumour would face action, he said.

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