Why Modi’s US visit divides Patels

One group to hold protest against the prime minister over his handling of reservation issue while the other calls it politically motivated

GN Bureau | September 21, 2015


#Gujarat   #patel   #US   #silicon valley   #narendra modi   #prime minister  

Reservation politics of Gujarat is playing a big role overseas and has divided the Patel community in the US. An influential section of the Patel community is opposed to a planned rally this week against prime minister Narendra Modi while another group in the Silicon Valley said they would hold protests against him over the handling of the recent reservation agitation in Gujarat.

There are about 150,000 Patels living in the US. 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. The statement also said those supporting the rally against Modi at the UN are a minuscule number who are misrepresenting the community.

"Patidars in the US are an industrious and peace loving community that has the progress of India close to their hearts," the statement added.

"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 Peach State Hospitality.

"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.

However, 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.

"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.

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