The Patidar youth (those with the surname Patel) want the Other Backward Class status or the OBC to be abolished, all quotas in education and jobs to be scrapped. They created the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) organization for this cause. Other community leaders have also demanded reservation including Brahmin, Thakore, Vaishnava, Rajput, Sindhi, Kansara, Soni and Raghuvanshi.
Public demonstrations began in July 2015 in Mehsana, Mansa and later Visnagar Protesters held signs with slogans such as, “Say no to caste-based reservation” and “I was born intelligent but reservation ruined me.” In Visnagar, the protest turned violent as vehicles were torched and offices vandalized, resulting in 152 people being arrested for holding a demonstration. However, there was another demonstration in Lunavada on July 30.
In August, social media helped to spread word of the protests. Demonstrations began to occur almost every other day. On August 17, between 100,000 to 450,000 people attended a demonstration in Surat where markets, schools and colleges were closed.
However, it is on August 25th in Ahmedabad that the major demonstration in occurred, named Kranti Rally. Over a half a million people are said to have carried out procession and presented the memorandum with their demands to the District Collector. The leader of the rally, Hardik Patel (leader of PAAS) declared a hungry strike until the Chief Minister appeared to personally received the memorandum. Patel was arrested, but later released and the police used forced to disperse the great crowds.
Then, violent crashes began to be reported throughout various parts of the Gujarat state. Buses and police vehicles were set on fire, shops were vandalized, and shots were fired – killing nine people. Curfews were imposed throughout the state and the following day, the entire state of Gujarat was shut down.
Anandiben Patel, the Chief Minister of Gujarat formed a panel to interact with the community. They have held talks, but the PAAS has not participated. The government also published a full-length article arguing legal and constitutional limitations. The chief minister continued to urge negotiations until the Kranti Rally occurred, now she regrets decision and ordered an inquiry.
There is poor in all communities, but that also doesn’t change how oppressive the caste hierarchy or social inequalities are – they determine factors like food habits, marriage and profession. At the root, people think that caste-based reservations can be abolished when caste-based marriages are abolished. Is it time to change, to demolish the entire caste-system for good?