Patel agitators detained for protesting against Amit Shah released

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The Gujarat government on Friday ordered the release of all 135 Patel agitators detained for creating ruckus at a function where Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and BJP President Amit Shah were booed.

Rupani and Shah were booed by quota agitation leader Hardik Patel’s supporters at the grand event in Surat organised to felicitate Patel leaders yesterday.

Patel agitators

“Our CM and party President Amitbhai Shah have a big heart and hence decided to release all those persons who were detained yesterday in Surat,” said Minister of State for Home Pradeepsinh Jadeja.

As many as 135 protesters were detained by police for creating ruckus in and around the venue and ransacking furniture.

Upon receiving the order, all those detained were released this evening, said P N Patel, Inspector at Kamrej in Surat under whose jurisdiction the incident took place.

Shah, Rupani and other party leaders as well Ministers were booed off stage as the members of Hardik’s Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) created commotion at the event.

Chaos prevailed outside the venue as well as in Mota Varraccha area, where Patidar community members from the locality hurled stones at police.

The function, billed as BJP’s show of strength in the Patidar stronghold of Surat, wound up within minutes with Patel leaders cutting short their speeches. Shah could speak for hardly four minutes amid sloganeering.

The ruckus started even before the commencement of the function with the Patel quota agitators raising slogans like “Jai Sardar, Jai Patidar” and hailing Hardik.

The programme was organised by ‘Patidar Abhivadan Samiti’, an outfit floated by a local businessman, to felicitate Patidar leaders including the newly-appointed state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, Union Ministers Parshottam Rupala and Manshukh Mandaviya.

The slogan shouting continued, forcing even Shah and Rupani to cut short their speeches.

Supporters of Hardik Patel had gone on a rampage, chanting his name and vandalising the furniture.

The crowd started chanting “Hardik, Hardik” while Shah sat on the stage and Union minister Purshottam Rupala addressed the crowd.

Shah was in Surat to attend a huge rally by the BJP to honour  the new Patel ministers in the government led by Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.

Patels, a traditional BJP supporters, have fallen out with the saffron party after the state’s BJP government ordered a crackdown against them during their agitation last year.

Hardik, who the BJP government had arrested on the charges of sedition, was recently released on bail after being inside the jail for months.

He had recently warned Shah to stay away from the Patels’ agitation.

Taking to Facebook, he had written, “I request Amit Shah to stay away from the Patel community’s agitation to get reservation. We will not stop it just because you want it. The agitation will not stop till I am alive. And if you still want to crush the stir by force, then you will have to kill me.”

There were signs of unrest even before Shah arrived in Surat as several posters on the streets described him General Dyer asking him to go back.

(With PTI inputs)

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