Gandhinagar: Two buses were torched by Patidar youth in Surat, Gujarat’s diamond city, on Tuesday evening after police detained some youth allegedly trying to disrupt an event by the BJP’s youth wing in the city. The incident took place in Patidar-dominated Varaccha locality of Surat.
The Surat police said about a dozen Patidar youth were detained and additional police reinforcements sent. There have been isolated instances of protests by Patidar members over the last few days in the city but local media reports suggested the police had been avoiding coercive action.
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On Tuesday, the city police detained some people, allegedly associated with the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS). They had tried to hold a protest at Saurashtra Bhavan where a meeting of Gujarat BJP’s youth wing was being held ahead of the elections to the 182-seat assembly later this year.
The BJP has been holding the meetings at local level across the states to mobilise party workers from its youth wing. Satish Sharma, the Surat police chief said some people created ruckus at the venue and also threw stones at police. “They even torched two buses at Hirabaug circle. Luckily, no one was injured. The situation is now under control in Kapodra area as well as rest of the city,” Mr Sharma said, according to news agency Press Trust of India.
Surat has a significant 10-lakh population of Patels. Also called Patidars, the community had found a new leader in Hardik Patel in 2015 when he led protests in several parts of the state to demand job quotas for the wealthy and influential community in Gujarat.
Rutvij Patel, president of state BJP’s youth wing said the incident did not reflect the sentiment within the Patel community. “The ruckus was created by 6 to 7 persons. Otherwise, the entire Patel community is with us,” he said, according to PTI.
Hardik Patel later claimed in a statement that the protest was peaceful and the police used baton charge for no reason. He also asked the police not to allow any programme in the Patidar-dominated areas of the city.