Patidar agitation leader Hardik Patel’s detention in Rajkot ahead of the India-South Africa ODI prompted sporadic protests across Gujarat, while one state transport bus was set on fire in Morbi district on Sunday.
“Some unidentified persons set afire a stationed ST bus at Mahendranagar area on the outskirts of Morbi city today,” NS Malek, inspector of B division police station in Morbi said, adding that they were trying to trace the people behind the incident.
The officer said nobody was injured in the incident.
Meanwhile, two incidents of protests were reported in Bardoli and Surat.
In Surat, Alpesh Kathiria, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) in the city and also a close associate of Hardik, held a demonstration at Kamrej area along with his supporters and tried to block National Highway 8, after which he was detained.
“Around 17 people, including Kathiria, were detained by the police for around four hours as they tried to block NH-8 at Kamrej area,” Police Control Room officer of Surat (Rural) Sunil Sinh said.
An agitation was held for brief period in Bardoli town by some people but they soon called it off after police requested them not to resort to any kind of protest, said Bardoli town sub-inspector DR Vasava.
Meanwhile, Kathiria alleged that cops treated the members of Patel community like “terrorists” and they will avenge the treatment meted out to them by the government by voting against the ruling BJP in the upcoming local bodies’ polls.
“We are descendants of Sardar Patel, but now the police have treated us like terrorists. Police have conducted atrocities on us, but we will not remain silent and will take the revenge of all these acts of the police,” Kathiria told reporters.
He alleged that members of Patel community were segregated and not allowed to enter the cricket stadium in Rajkot where the ODI was held between India and South Africa.
“Those who were wearing T-shirts of the so-called ‘Vikas Purus’ who created a myth about development in Gujarat -- our Prime Minister Narendra Modi -- are allowed to go inside the stadium, but our Patel brothers, who wore T-shirts of Sardar Patel, were not allowed to go inside the stadium,” he alleged.
Earlier in the day, Hardik, along with his supporters, was detained by police while he was on his way to Khandheri cricket stadium in Rajkot, threatening to stage a protest at there.
Meanwhile, he continues to be in detention.
Hardik ‘insulting’ tricolour
Rajkot district superintendent of police Gagandeep Gambhir said this evening that the police would be registering an FIR against Hardik Patel for “insulting” the national flag.
According to Gambhir, Hardik’s feet touched the national flag which he was carrying as he jumped on a car in an attempt to talk to the media when he was stopped by the police at Madhapar crossroads in Rajkot this afternoon.
“Hardik always tries to be in media...when he was stopped by police, he suddenly jumped on the roof of his car with the national flag. While doing so, the flag touched his feet, which is against the dignity of the tricolor,” said the SP.
“Whatever he has done is not allowed as per the law. So we will file an FIR for disrespecting the national flag.”
Gambhir said that action will also be taken against the driver of the car in which Hardik was travelling. “We have also seized the car as the occupants failed to produce any document related to the vehicle. The person who was driving did not have driving license,” he said.