NEW DELHI, July 15 (Xinhua) — A 22-year-old controversial community leader in the western Indian state of Gujarat was released from jail Friday, nine months after he was arrested for sedition.
Hardik Patel was arrested in October 2015 when his agitation, demanding reservation in government jobs and colleges for his upper caste Patel community, turned violent.
His arrest was followed by large-scale arson and violence by his supporters in some of Gujarat’s biggest towns.
“We have got some of what we want but not everything. We will first have talks with the Gujarat government and ask peacefully,” he told the media after walking out of jail.
In fact, the Patels make up 20 percent of the population of Gujarat, the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The caste is economically powerful, but the protesters say quotas for lower castes have put them at a disadvantage.
Patels control India’s thriving diamond cutting and polishing industry and are among the most prosperous businessmen and farmers in Gujarat.