A member of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) was arrested for allegedly defacing photos of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, BJP chief Amit Shah and Chief Minister Vijay Rupani on Diwali posters in Surat.
Police have registered two offences in Sarthana and Puna police stations against members of PAAS for their alleged involvement in spraying black colour on posters hanged at public places. The banners were put up by Kamrej BJP MLA V D Zalavadia to greet people on Diwali.
Police registered a case under IPC sections 153, 427 and 114 on Wednesday. According to police sources, police in Puna and Sarathana were on night patrol on Tuesday night when they spotted posters put up on electric poles near Reshma society in Parvat Patia area of Punagam. The banners had the photo of Zalavadia in the middle wishing the people of his constituency Happy Diwali. It also contained photos of PM Modi, BJP chief Shah, Gujarat CM Rupani, Deputy CM Nitin Patel and State BJP president Jitubhai Vaghani. The photos of non-Patidar leaders like PM Modi, Shah, and CM Rupani were blackened.
In the presence of police, the banners were taken off and Sub-inspector K A Savalia lodged a complaint against unidentified persons.
Police have arrested a 21-year-old youth identified as Nikunj Kakadia, a member of the Patidar community, and six others have been declared wanted.
Sarthana police inspector N D Chaudhari said, “The faces of political leaders of BJP who were non-Patidars were blackened. This has been done intentionally to incite people which might result into a law and order like situation. We have registered offence and arrested one youth Nikunj Kakadia, who is an active member of Surat PAAS and was earlier arrested in a similar protest case. Nikunj has disclosed that six others were involved. We have got their names and are looking for them. Nikunj works as a polisher at a diamond factory.”