Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti on Saturday decided to reschedule its leader Hardik Patel’s rally in Surat after city police denied permission for it, citing board examinations. The rally was earlier scheduled for Sunday at Yogi Chowk in Varachha area.
Alleging discrimination, PAAS said while police denied permission for the Patidar rally, they allowed BJP to hold Vijay Utsav on Tapi riverfront to celebrate the party’s massive victory in the recently held Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. PAAS teams had been mobilising the Patidars for the public meeting for the past 15 days.
“We have denied police permission giving two major reasons — first, the venue for the public meeting is a residential area and due to the ongoing board exams the students will face great difficulty; and second, most of our personnel at present are deployed at various examination centres. The public meeting was scheduled from 7 pm to 10 pm and there was a plan for rally too. Our police personnel would have remained busy till midnight, and in the morning they had to obey duties at the examination centres. We had asked PAAS to organise the public meeting at some other location, but they denied. We had also given them option to organise public meeting after March 26, but they did not accepted our proposal. We have given them permission in the past to organise rallies and other programmes,” said Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma.
He further said: “The reason for giving police permission to BJP to organise Vijay Utsav is that the BJP workers will take out rallies from different parts of the city and only meet at Tapi riverfront. There they will burst fire crackers and later disperse. It will not take much time.”
However, Hardik, who posted a video message on Facebook in the afternoon, questioned the denial of permission for his rally, even as he said that a public meeting by PAAS would be soon organised in Surat.
Surat PAAS co-convener Alpesh Katheria later told mediapersons “Police are working on the directions of BJP leaders. They denied us permission, but allowed BJP’s event. We will take it as challenge and in coming days we will organise a similar meeting at the same place.”