India’s Patel community rally over caste quotas

Gujarat's Patel community holds rally in India's Ahmedabad city to demand affirmative action to access jobs, education

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

There was some violence and about 300,000 members of the Patel community participated the meeting in Ahmedabad.

Approximately half a million protesters gathered in Ahmedabad city in India, the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Tuesday to request exclusive treatment for their Patidar caste which is one of the state's wealthiest.

The Patel's form 20 percent of the population of Gujarat, according to the BBC, and they claim they are struggling to race with less exclusive castes for jobs and university places. The demonstration was arranged by a 21-year-old controversial community leader, Hardik Patel.

The rally turned violent when the Patel's clashed with the local residents including some from lower-caste groups.

"People in the Patel community are not getting jobs even if they have degrees," said protest leader Hardik Patel.

India’s diamond cutting industry, which is among the most successfull businessmen and farmers are controled by Patels. However, they are rejected college placements due to the positive action to provide those below them in India’s complex social structure to have access to colleges. They also claim that they have been influenced by deceleration in industries in Gujarat.                                                                           

In addition, Patels are desiring affirmative action and categorisation as Other Backward Classes (OBC) led by Hardik Patel who is an upcoming leader and businessman. They are entitled to quotas in state-run education centres and in government jobs. 

Mr Patel told the audience that if people weren't given their rights, they would became "terrorists" and he added that the lotus, which is a reference symbol of Mr Modi’s BJP, would not bloom again at the next state election.

TRTWorld and agencies