Hundreds of Congress protesters were detained across Gujarat on Tuesday after the party was denied permission to hold its Daman Pratikar rally in Ahmedabad against alleged police atrocities on the Patidars and also the state action against quota stir leader Hardik Patel and his aides.
Many senior Congress leaders, including state party chief Bharatsinh Solanki, former GPCC presidents Arjun Modhwadia and Siddharth Patel, and spokesperson Shaktisinh Gohil, were detained near Gandhi Ashram in Ahmedabad along with a number of party workers during the protest. They were all released in the evening.
Leader of Opposition in the Assembly Shankersinh Vaghela, who is said to be tending to a bad knee, did not participate in the protest. Party workers shouted anti-government slogans and some lied on the road to stop police buses. They also damaged several flower pots kept on the road median, but were soon dispersed by police.
Talking to the media before being detained, Solanki said: “The state government could have solved the Patidar issue without resorting to excesses against the Patidars. Unfortunately, the state government did not show the maturity and resulted in worsening of law and order situation, leading into the death of 11 innocent persons (during the quota violence in August). Many Patidars were arrested and several of them are still in jail.”
“Congress wants the state government to withdraw cases against leaders of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti,” he said.
Party spokesperson Manish Doshi said his party workers were detained in other parts of the state and not allowed to participate in the rally.
“This is suppression of democracy, but we will continue agitation,” he said.
Police in the Dangs detained over 100 Congress workers, including Congress MLA Mangal Gavit, at Vaghai checkpost in the morning, when they were on their way to participate in the proposed rally in Ahmedabad.
Similarly, several Congress members from Surat, on their way to Ahmedabad, were detained. The party workers were also detained in Rajkot, Jamnagar and Porbandar.