Former IPS officer DG Vanzara, accused in a string of fake encounter cases, on Monday stirred controversy when he put a garland with a toy pistol around the statue of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel at a rally organised by his supporters in Surat.
The incident triggered sharp reactions from Congress as well as from the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) whose members removed the garland after Vanzara had left the venue.
Vanzara, a key accused in the alleged fake encounter killings of Ishrat Jahan, Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsi Prajapati, was in Surat to attend a rally. Before the rally, he put a garland with a pen and a toy pistol tied to it around Sardar Patel’s statue.
When asked about the rationale behind offering such a garland, Vanzara told reporters that it was a “symbolic tribute” to Patel’s contribution to uniting hundreds of princely states after independence.
It was Sardar Patel who had convinced more than 665 princely states to join the Union of India after independence. Though a majority of states got convinced and acceded, some like Junagadh and Hyderabad raised their heads in protest. In such a scenario, Sardar kept aside his pen and took up the gun. The pen in the garland is a “symbol of wit”, and the pistol of “power”.
However, the incident drew criticism from various quarters. Condemning the act, former Congress MP and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Memorial Society chairman Dinsha Patel and PAAS demanded an apology from Vanzara, even though his workers removed the garland.
Vanzara has insulted a great leader. He has also hurt the feelings of Patel community. Sardar Patel always walked the path of peace and never advocated violence. We have removed that garland having the (toy) pistol and put a garland of flowers. We have also demanded an apology from Vanzara on the whole issue.Nikhil Savani, Surat PAAS convener
On 8 April, Vanzara landed in Ahmedabad after the CBI court relaxed his bail conditions and allowed him to enter and stay in Gujarat. Since then, Vanzara has been felicitated by his supporters at such rallies in different parts of the state. He had also not ruled out joining politics.
(With inputs from PTI)