September 21, 2017 8:40:50 am
In an attempt to “improve” their image among the Patidars, Surat police have decided to allow “peaceful demonstrations” by members of the community and also Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. The decision has been taken days after violence in Varachha area of city on the night of September 12 after members of PAAS were lathicharged and detained when they protesting a BJYM event, contending that while police deny permission to the Patidar group for holding any event, they allow progammes organised by BJP and related outfits.
“Taking lessons from the past incident, we have decided to tackle the situation in a different way. Earlier, when we detained or arrested them (the Patidar protesters), they would circulate the videos of the police action among their community groups. As the videos went viral, their supporters came on the roads and damaged public property,” said Surat police commissioner Satish Sharma. “(When we take action) the impression that the community has of police is bad. So, we decided to allow them to protest peacefully. We have instructed policemen to keep a patient watch and refrain from using force unless they go violent, or try to break barricade or enter the venue. They have the right to protest without disturbing the programme.”
As part of its new strategy, Surat police on Tuesday night adopted the “Gandhian” approach to tackle the Patidar groups, protesting at a venue of BJYM’s Yuva Tankar Sammelan at Rajasthani Kshtriya Samaj Wadi in Parvat Patia. PAAS, which has been vehemently opposing BJP meetings in the Patidar-dominated areas of the city, had sent out messages to community members on social networking sites about the protest.
Even as PAAS members raised slogans against BJP at the venue, policemen remained “patient”, but ensured that no one broke the law. Unlike September 12, none of the protesting PAAS member was detained nor did police resorted to lathicharge. After an hour-long protest, PAAS volunteers finally left the spot, without any untoward incident. “Last night too, they (PAAS members) circulated videos, but others from the community did not join in as we did not initiate any harsh action against them (the protesters),” said Sharma.
Even, PAAS leaders expressed “shock” over police not taking any action against them during the protest on Tuesday night. Surat PAAS co-convener Dharmik Malaviya said, “We were shocked why police had not taken any stern action against us or detained us. They allowed us to protest. But, we will not stop… we will continue our protest in coming days, as on September 24, such a sammelan is going to be held in Katargam area. We will go there and protest.” BJYM has been organising Yuva Tankar Sammelans in parts of the city to “energise the youth brigade” of BJP for the upcoming Assembly elections in the state.
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