Surat police on Sunday registered a case against seven persons, including four workers of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), for insulting the national flag and rioting under the provisions of IPC and The Prevention of Insults to National Honour Act. The incident took place during a Maha Tiranga Yatra in Surat, which was organised by PAAS convener Vishal Vasoya, without using the samiti’s banner, to voice support for the armed forces on Sunday. According to the complaint, registered by one Natu Butani, who had earlier challenged Patidar quota stir leader Hardik Patel, PAAS workers, Alpesh Katheriya, Manoj Chovatia, Karunesh Ranperia and Ramesh Michael along with three others beat him up while trampling a Tricolour during the yatra.
Butani, a resident of Jetpur in Rajkot, had challenged and questioned Patidar quota stir leader Patel through a video, which went viral on social media. He had come to Surat to participate in the the yatra from Sardar Chowk Mini Bazaar to Sarthana in Varachha area. As it was a non-political event, Surat Mayor Ashmita Shiroya welcomed the rally. Congress councillor Dinesh Kachhadia also took part in the rally.
According to sources, Katheriya first spotted Butani in an autorickshaw in the rally. Katheriya, along with other PAAS members, asked him to leave, which took shape of a heated argument, and finally resulted in an alleged scuffle. Butani was then taken to Vaachha police station where he lodged a complaint against the four PAAS workers, along with three others. In the complaint, Butani alleged that the accused snatched an Indian flag from his hand and trampled it, while beating him.
Surat PAAS co-convenor Dharmik Malaviya said they had information that Butani had come to Surat to participate in the yatra and that he could create problem. “PAAS supported the Maha Tirganga Yatra as it was non-political. After spotting him in an auto, our team members asked him to leave the yatra. But he used abusive words, which resulted into a scuffle. We suspect that Natu was sent by those who oppose us intentionally to create disturbance in the yatra.”