Ahmedabad: Demanding release of quota movement leader Hardik Patel and other jailed agitators, two members of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), have begun an indefinite hunger strike at their respective homes in the city and in Surat.
PAAS member from city and a prominent female face of quota agitation Reshma Patel, a resident of Vejalpur area, is on an indefinite hunger strike since December 21, when PAAS members their launched state wide agitation demanding release of the jailed leaders and withdrawal of sedition cases against Hardik and six other PAAS leaders.
In her memorandum to the District Collector, Reshma said Gujarat Government and Chief Minister Anandiben Patel will be solely responsible if anything happens to her.
"Today is the fifth day of my hunger strike. I am not taking anything except water. I am forced to sit on hunger strike at home because police is not giving us permission to sit at a public place, despite our assurance that our protest will be peaceful," she said.
"Till now, the government has not taken note of my protest. If anything happens to me, our CM will be responsible. Our brothers are lodged in jails in false cases, and we will not hesitate to do whatever it takes to free them," added Reshma, who was finding it difficult to speak due to weakness.
In Surat, PAAS co-convener Nikhil Savani, a close aide of Hardik, also sat on indefinite strike at his home.
"It's been three months since Hardik and four other PAAS leaders are behind bars in false cases of sedition. To mount pressure on government to free them, I began my indefinite hunger strike yesterday. I will not back down till our demands are met," said Savani.
PAAS leaders had earlier handed over a common memorandum to district collectors and other government officials at taluka level in various parts of state, saying if their leaders are not released they will start protest from December 21.
PAAS also asked the government to withdraw sedition charges against their leaders Hardik Patel, Chirag Patel, Ketan Patel, Dinesh Bambhaniya and Nilesh Arvadia and release them from jail immediately.
However, police foiled all their programs on December 21 and 22. On December 21, Ranip police arrested 37 Patel community members for trying to sit on an indefinite hunger strike in front of Sabarmati Ashram here without police permission.
On the following day, seven such leaders were arrested in Mehsana for defying police orders.