With Gujarat government not heeding to the Patels’ demand for OBC status, at least 500 families of the community have threatened to leave Hinduism and convert to another religion for getting benefits of reservation in jobs and education.
These families reside in Pasodara village near Surat city, around 260 kms from Ahmedabad.
Local Patel leaders called this move as a symbolic protest against the state government, which according to them, has denied reservation benefits to the community members under OBC category.
“At least 500 Patel families of Pasodara have decided to go for conversion in the wake of the government’s denial of reservation benefits to the Patels.
We have conveyed our wish to convert to various Hindu organisations and leaders of our religion,” said Raju Bodara, a prominent member of Akhil Bharatiya Patidar Sena, a Patel group, in Surat district.
Vijay Patel, a local resident, said the families are “compelled” to take such a step.
“Looking at the current situation, where the government is terrorising Patels by various means, we are left with no other option but to convert. We are compelled to do so. This government and our religious leaders should now do introspection on this issue,” he said. “We are consulting legal experts to know more about our rights after conversion. We are also studying the Constitution. There must be a law which will give us all the benefits of reservation after conversion,” Vijay added.
The state-wide agitation for quota is being spearheaded by Hardik Patel, a 22-year-old commerce graduate who is hogging the limelight after organising a massive rally in Ahmedabad on August 25.