Workers of BJP and Congress on Wednesday indulged in a scuffle and stone-pelting at an event here to protest the slaughter of a calf by “Youth Congress members” in Kerala recently. While the event was being organised by BJP member and vice-chairperson of Gujarat Gau-Seva Ayog Chaitanya Shambu Maharaj — who began a two-day fast condemning the Kerala incident, the Congress workers sought to join it, claiming that cow was “dear” to them too. They were led by city Congress chief Chetan Raval.
Soon, members of Youth Congress also reached the spot, holding banners seeking removal of the state BJP government. This led heated argument between the two sides and as the situation worsened they indulged in scuffle and stone-pelting, sources said. At the time of the incident, there was no policeman at the scene. Police, late in the night, registered an FIR against eight Congress workers, including Raval, on the basis of complaint moved by Maharaj for rioting.
Deputy Chief Minster later in the evening visited the protest venue, Sola Bhagwat Vidyapith, to express his “solidarity” with Shambu Maharaj. “I went to the spot to extend my support. I also condemn the Kerala incident,” he told The Indian Express. Patel also issued a press release, saying Congress workers launched an attack at a programme of “gau bhakt sant samaj”, which would not be tolerated and strict action would be taken against those responsible for it.
Following the scuffle, Raval and seven other Congress workers were taken to Sola police station. “I and my team members were taken to the stage and had blessings of Maharaj. When we came down a group of Youth Congress members also reached the spot. I don’t know what happened, but I saw that some people started pelting stones at them. I jumped in to cool them down,” Raval told The Indian Express over phone from the police station. Raval also said that he was plainning to file a cross-complaint.
According to the sources, Raval was allegedly manhandled and his shirt was torn-off by Maharaj’s supporters.
Gujarat BJP spokesperson Bharat Pandya said, “This was not a programme of BJP. It was a programme by the sant samaj to condemn the shameful incident in Kerala where Youth Congress workers openly slaughtered cow (calf). Today, they came in a pre-planned manner and disturbed the event by shouting slogans and using fowl language.”
“They said that they were supporting the programme… Instead of coming here (in Ahmedabad), they should have gone to Kerala to register their protest. Their intentions were clear since they carried a banner with an anti-BJP slogan on it (Gai Bachao, BJP Hatao),” Pandya added. He said that some of BJP workers sustained injuries in the stone pelting.
Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said, “Instead of doing proper work for cow protection, BJP is doing politics over the issue. Today, when our workers went there under the leadership of Chetan Raval, they (BJP workers) resorted to fowl language and stone pelting… If it was not a function of BJP, then how come so many BJP workers were present there?” Earlier, a group of Bajrang Dal members burned a Congress flag in the morning and locked the door the party state headquarters on the issue calf slaughter in Kerala.