An influential section of the Patel community
on Sunday said they are opposed to a planned rally against Prime Minister Narendra Modi when he visits the US this week while another group in the Silicon Valley said they would hold protests against him over the handling of the recent reservation agitation in Gujarat.
In a media statement, the group of Patels, said they believe that the agitation in India is politically motivated and these protests do not represent the voice of the entire Patidar (Patel) community.
"We Patels in the US are not taking any sides. Our intention is to make everybody aware that not every Patidar is against Prime Minister Modi. We do not support people who are tarnishing the reputation of our community and great country of India," said Danny Patel, CEO of PeachState Hospitality.
There are about 150,000 Patels living in the US and those supporting the rally against Modi at the UN
are a minuscule number who are misrepresenting the community, said the statement.
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"Modi is coming here to further a bigger vision that he holds for India and instead of supporting his vision some people are trying to thwart his vision for petty political gains which the majority of us feel is not right," said Ravi Patel of Sree Hotels.
"Patidars in the US are an industrious and peace-loving community that has the progress of India close to their hearts," the statement added.
"As members of the overseas Patidar community, we condemn it. This is an exercise in political mudslinging and we do not want to be a part of it," said Baldev Thakor, president of Maya Hotels and a Patel community member.
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"We wholeheartedly support Modi in his initiatives to take the country to greater heights," he added.
Meanwhile, another section of the Patel community held a meeting in Silicon Valley to organise the protest rally against Modi when he visits California next week.
"While we are honoured to have the Prime Minster of India and fellow Gujarati Narendra Modi in Silicon Valley next week, we must not ignore the facts that gross violations of human rights and brutality by Gujarat police has occurred and the state and central governments have failed to serve and protect innocent civilians," they said in an emailed statement to community members.
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"Please note that this is not against or pro any political party. This is not against Modi. However, as the Prime Minister of India, we need Modi to recognise that those who are responsible for unconstitutional brutal actions must be punished. We demand justice," they said.