Under pressure following the relaunch of the Patidar agitation, which is also being supported by the Congress, the Anandiben Patel government on Saturday announced withdrawal of 74 police cases involving 382 Patidar youths in 18 districts to maintain atmosphere of ‘peace, harmony’ in the state.
However, the sedition charge against Patidar stir leader Hardik Patel and his five aides has not been withdrawn but it may be reviewed soon.
The decision came two days after the government faced intense protest against its ongoing by-yearly agricultural festival Krishi Mahotsav at various places in the state by the Patidar community which forms the BJP’s most committed vote bank.
With the demand of OBC status, this otherwise politically and financially influential community has been at loggerheads with the BJP government since July last year. The Congress too had announced it would take out a rally in Ahmedabad on January 6 if the cases, including the sedition charges against Hardik Patel, won’t be withdrawn.
“Of 457 FIRs, 74 will be withdrawn in the first phase. A further review will be done to take a call in connection with the rest of the cases,” said Gujarat government spokesperson and health minister Nitin Patel. The cases were registered after mobs across state had set ablaze public property, including police vehicles and buses. Homes of top ministers, including MoS home Rajnikant Patel, were also targeted.
Nitin Patel said the decision was taken by the chief minister after a meeting with community leaders on December 31. “Decision has been taken to maintain peace and harmony in the state.”