Gujarat CM invokes caste riots of past, rebukes quota agitators

Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Thursday ticked off Patel community leader Hardik Patel for being oblivious about the caste and community-based riots that had charred the state in the past and appealed to people to avoid a potential "class conflict".

PTI| Updated: Sep 17, 2015, 19:22 PM IST

Gandhinagar: Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Thursday ticked off Patel community leader Hardik Patel for being oblivious about the caste and community-based riots that had charred the state in the past and appealed to people to avoid a potential "class conflict".

"We have to live with each other in the cities and in villages. There should not be any unnecessary tension in the society which results in class conflict. We have witnessed the results of such tensions in the past (in Gujarat).

"But these 25 or 30-year-old youths do not know anything as they have not seen that era of Gujarat," Patel said without taking name of Hardik who is steering the quota agitation for Patidar community.

The CM's statement came against the backdrop of members of Patel community stepping up their agitation and implementing "economic boycott" by withdrawing their deposits from banks.

"I have seen what happened in 1967, many of you must have seen what happened in 1985 and we have also seen what happened in year 1987," she said referring to caste and community-based riots that had troubled Gujarat.

The chief minister also underlined that her government wanted every community to prosper through development.

"We do not want to deprive any of the communities from the fruits of development. We have to make attempts to instill peace in Gujarat. There should not be any discrimination on the basis of castes or creeds," she said addressing an event here.

She also hit out at the agitators who resorted to violence and vandalised private and public property last month after Hardik Patel's rally in Ahmedabad.

"Gujarat has achieved this development not because of government, but with the cooperation of six crore people of the state. Labour is needed for that. Labour is needed for development, but for destructing something, nothing much required," she said.

"When a road is being constructed, labour is needed, when a house is being made, labour is needed in that also...When somebody has to run his household then labour is needed...But people who only do damage or vandalise, they do not need to do anything," the CM added.

The CM also chided leaders of Patel quota stir for

calling Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel as their ideal.

"Sardar Patel had done that (work of instilling peace and unity) only. Otherwise merger of more than 400 erstwhile princely states could not have become possible. If that had not been done, what would have been the situation of Gujarat today," she asked.

"That time Sardar Patel had united the country and we are following footsteps of Sardar Patel. There cannot be a rift between communities in Gujarat at all," the CM said.

Anandiben stressed that there is no discrimination against members of any community in the state.

"Why should there be a rift between communities. All of them are getting their rights. All are getting water in all villages. If roads are constructed, all are walking on it. If schools are opened, children of all the communities study there. There is no discrimination in that," she said.

She also dismissed as "humbug" Hardik's statements that students of general category fail to secure admission in medical and engineering colleges because of the reservation system.

"The state government is working to give people their rights whatever they deserve. They all have a faith in government. This government does not want to do injustice to anybody.

"Nobody comes and says what kind of injustice is done to them. Only humbug talks are being done outside. Everybody gets admission in engineering, even seats remain unclaimed," the CM said.

"There are 3,250 medical seats and admissions are given as per norms. But if some poor students cannot afford to get admission in those faculties then government is ready to help such students," she said.

The CM said government opens new colleges to accommodate students.

"Evey year government opens around ten to twelve new colleges," she added.