Hardik Patel Supporters Create Havoc at Amit Shah’s Patidar Rally
Riotous supporters started chanting “Hardik, Hardik” and destroyed the chairs during the felicitation programme.
Chaos ensued at Bharatiya Janata Party chief Amit Shah’s meeting with the leaders of the Patidar community in Gujarat as Hardik Patel’s supporters went on a rampage, chanting his name and vandalising the furniture.
Despite large deployment of police and paramilitary forces, Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) supporters sported saffron caps and barged into the venue where legislators of the Patel community were to be felicitated by Shah and Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani.
Belying the organizers’ claim that lakhs of Patels would attend the function, hardly about 10,000 turned up amid heavy police deployment while over 500 supporters of PAAS, led by BJP dissident MLA Nalin Kotadia, laid virtual siege of the place and prevented people from reaching it.
After Amit Shah came on stage and Union minister Purshottam Rupala started speaking, riotous supporters started chanting “Hardik, Hardik” before they went berserk and destroyed the chairs during the facilitation programme at a local school in Surat on Thursday.
Police used lathis and burst tear gas shells to disperse the PAAS supporters.
PAAS supporters, who roamed around the venue preventing people from attending the function, pelted stones at the policemen deployed to provide security to Shah and other leaders of the BJP.
The PAAS protesters also damaged a couple of state transport buses in the Patel-dominated Varachha Road area. State transport buses were withdrawn and diverted to other routes.
The BJP rally to honour the new Patel ministers in the Gujarat government led by Vijay Rupani was seen as a show of strength and a gesture towards the Patel community who have been demanding reservation.
Hardik Patel was leading the reservation struggle, and was recently granted bail after nine months in prison in two sedition and one arson-related cases.
While Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) had asked the community to oppose the felicitation programme, city-based prominent businessmen formed a group called the ‘Patidar Abhivadan Samiti’ to honour the new state BJP chief Jitu Vaghani, deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel and union ministers of the Patel community.
In a Facebook post, Hardik had asked Amit Shah to stay away from the Patel community and said that the agitation for reservation won’t stop till he was alive.
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