Gujarat government on Saturday denied permission to Hardik Patel's "reverse Dandi march" over the Patel quota issue, less than a fortnight after violence erupted during his stir claiming 10 lives, but the defiant leader vowed to carry out the protest programme tomorrow.
Navsari District Collector on Saturday refused to grant permission to Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) to take out the march from Dandi to Ahmedabad to press for their demand for inclusion of the Patel community in OBC category for reservation.
"We have rejected the petition seeking permission to take out the Dandi yatra," Navsari district Collector Remya Mohan Muthadath told media.
She said proper security arrangements have been made to deal with any situation if members of the Patel community take out the march tomorrow.
"Proper security arrangements have been made and we have also deployed paramilitary forces," Muthadath said.
However, Hardik Patel said they will commence the march from Dandi village of Navsari district to Ahmedabad at 6 AM tomorrow.
"Along with 78 members, I will begin the march from Dandi tomorrow. Around five lakh people will join us when the march reaches Surat," he said.
He claimed that around 15 lakh people from the Patel community will join the reverse march when it will reach Ahmedabad.
Hardik said Patel leaders in villages en route to this march are given the task of strengthening the organisation over the issue. "Entire India will have a close watch over the reverse Dandi march," he said.
The 22-year-old Hardik has been hogging the national limelight after his aggressive speech at August 25 mega-rally of Patels at GMDC ground here. His detention had set off massive violence, claiming 10 lives and imposition of curfew in many parts of the state.
The Dandi March led by Mahatma Gandhi in 1930 was an important part of the Independence movement and Hardik's move to choose that location for strengthening his agitation is viewed as a message to various stake-holders.