Hardik Patel appeared in the Gujarat High Court, which asked him to detail in writing his allegations of being abducted and illegally detained by the state police. For about 40 minutes, the 22-year-old politician sat in court and wrote on three sheets of paper, which then were ordered to be kept in sealed cover by the court. Observing that the allegations of Hardik being in illegal custody prima facie seem “unsatisfactory,” the court has also asked Patel’s lawyer to substantiate on September 29, such allegations in his petition to the court two days ago. Hardik Patel must be present in court that day, it said.
In the meantime, the court has said, the state police can proceed in the cases it has registered against Hardik Patel for defying prohibitory orders while holding a rally in north Gujarat. However, police sources revealed that his arrest was unlikely at least till Tuesday when the High Court continues hearing in the case.
Patel alleged that they threatened him to call off his agitation for reservation in government jobs and colleges for the Patel community. The state police have denied detaining Patel. It has said that Mr. Patel had fled in a vehicle on Tuesday when they tried to detain him for holding a large public meeting in the north Gujarat village without seeking permission. Patel had addressed a crowd of about 2000 to 3000 people. When Hardik Patel was briefly detained after a massive rally in Ahmedabad last month, there was violence in many cities of Gujarat. He was arrested on last Saturday, after he attempted to hold a protest rally in Surat (South Gujarat) for which he did not have permission.
Caste based reservations is biggest issue in India especially this has become a political tool, to create ruckus. In India, the Other Backward Castes (OBC) status is an affirmative action which provides reserved quotas in education and government jobs. In Gujarat, 27% seats are reserved for OBC, 7.5% for Scheduled Castes and 15% for Scheduled Tribes totaling 49.5% of all seats. The Supreme Court has capped the maximum reservation at 50% in 1992 judgement. In 1981, the Government of Gujarat headed by Indian National Congress (INC) chief minister Madhavsinh Solanki, introduced the reservation for socially and economically backward castes (SEBC) based on recommendations of Bakshi Commission. It resulted in anti-reservation agitation across the state which spilled over in riots resulting in more than hundred deaths. Solanki resigned in 1985 but later returned to power winning 149 out of 182 assembly seats. He was supported by Kshatriya, Harijan, Adivasi and Muslims; called collectively as KHAM. It resulted in other communities including Patidars losing the political influence which later alienated the INC. The SEBC (later OBC) list initially had 81 communities which expanded to 146 communities by 2014. The agitation took inspiration from the agitation by Gujjar community in Rajasthan which ended in May 2015.
We must also consider that in upper classes also there are economically weaker sections. Agricultural land is being divided and sub divided among family members. The vendors, who are selling eatable items on the roads, are earning more than these upper class communities. Most of the Brahmins in cities are taxi drivers and security guards. Their income is very low and children have no facilities anywhere. Brahamin community is considered as upper class but they have pitiable condition and are finding it difficult to provide two times meals to their children. Brahmins are respected by the people without giving any financial assistance to them. Their children also require government jobs. Is it crime to be born in the family of upper classes? Similarly, in the case of Gujarati Patel or Marathas in Maharashtra all are victims of reservation system. Reservation is becoming curse day by day. Our politicians are reserving their vote banks in the name of reservation. If the jobs are not given to those candidates who are on merit, naturally they will come out and protest. Many more Hardik Patels from every community, religion, states will come out with those people who are denied their rights of jobs.
It is in the interest of the people to abolish reservation system and the jobs should be given only on merit basis irrespective of their castes or religion. If our government fails to stop this reservation system, we should expect more riots, bloodshed, division, further sub-division among pubic in the name of castes and religions. Why candidates from upper class should sacrifice inspite of good merits. Reservation quota is just a votebank for political parties.
The Bombay High Court earlier stayed then Maharashtra government’s (Congress-NCP) decision to give 16 per cent reservation to Marathas in public service and educational institutions. The HC also stayed state’s decision to provide 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in public service, but offered them quota in education. After over 68 years of independence we are unable to overcome the reservation policy. Before this announcement Maharashtra had 52 per cent reservations, which had crossed the limit set at 50 per cent by the Supreme Court. With these fresh reservations, the total percentage of reservations in the state has gone up to 73 per cent. A Public Interest Litigation has already been filed, claiming that the Marathas are not a poor and backward caste. Marathas are richest people in Maharashtra. On the other hand, there seems to be no argument against the 5 per cent reservations for Muslims, the community have a high population of poor and deprived people. The main controversy erupted over reservations for the Marathas, was just to please Maratha votebank. Most powerful politicians in the state belong to the Maratha community. Ten of Maharashtra’s 18 chief ministers have been Marathas including the first CM, Yashwantrao Chavan. Same with Patels in Gujarat, they are considered to be most dominating politicians and also resourceful people, Maratha and Patels are of two extreme types, some are extremely privileged and some are underprivileged and poor.
Since the birth of Maharashtra in 1960 a majority of legislators belong to the Maratha community. The community also controls educational institutions, developmental boards and 168 out of the 200 sugar cooperatives in the state. It is no surprise then that people tend to believe it is a rich and powerful community and do not need any reservation. The tragedy of this community is that only 137 Maratha families are the dominant players in state politics, rest of them don’t even have half the money of these 137. The reason being that, there are 96 clans and most are backward and poor. The Kunbis, known as poor tillers, form a large part of this community. The problem within the Marathas is that Maratha politicians have failed their community. They failed to deliver the goods to the community. As a result, Maratha politicians encounter growing bitterness and want to appease their community by announcing reservations for employment and education. The politicians have hurriedly ignored the most pertinent issues. It is clear that the social stratification and economic distress faced by the Marathas engaged in agriculture is unlikely to be meaningfully addressed merely by demanding OBC status for the community. We can’t forget that Maharashtra is primarily an agrarian economy. Many agricultural peasants and small-time farmers have been reduced to labours, among them are many clans of Marathas. Even the Brahmins in Maharashtra are living an average life. However, no one thought of giving them reservation, as they are the actual minorities now.
Political parties are dividing the people on such useless issues. Is there any need to declare reservation? Basically, the reservation should not be there for general people. Let the new generation come with their own charisma instead of depending upon such tactics. By offering such quotas, the government wants to gain cheap popularity at the end. However, youngsters should go with competitive mind instead of adopting easy routes. No government should try to offer such quotas. There should be some limit to populism. Politicians can go to any limits to secure votes for capturing power. Reservation is a magic formula for this purpose. Every class wants reservations as shortcuts and nobody pleads for merit or efficiency, by making it a country of intellectual pygmies.