The Bharatiya Janata Party government in Gujarat on Tuesday set up an inquiry commission to investigate alleged police excesses against protestors during the Patidar quota agitation in 2015, The Hindu reported.
The Gujarat Cabinet also approved the formation of a commission to look into the educational and economic development of 58 castes which do not have reservation benefits. It has allocated Rs 600 crore for this purpose, the Ahmedabad Mirror reported. The commission will be headed by independent directors and government officials.
“The move will benefit farmers, people engaged in animal husbandry and even artists from these unreserved castes and ensure more employment opportunities for them,” state Home and Legal Affairs Minister Pratapsinh Jadeja said. “This will also encompass their electricity, water and housing needs and a skill training centre will also be set up.”
He added that the state would study central schemes which work for the betterment of unreserved castes. Jadeja also said that if the Patidar community ends its agitation for reservations, the commission will look into withdrawing the sedition cases against [Patidar Amanat Andolan Samiti leader] Hardik Patel and others.
However, the Congress accused the government of making these announcements with an eye on the upcoming state elections. “For the past two years, they did not think of such a commission, but now they are making rapid announcements,” Gujarat Congress President Bharat Solanki said. “This government is selfish, arrogant and corrupt and it is taking such decisions only for votes.”
Hardik Patel called it an “election-based lollypop”. “The sum of Rs 600 crore is not huge for the economically backward class when you take into account that government has added 58 communities to this class,” he said.