High drama ensued at the meeting of general board of the Rajkot Municipal Corporation (RMC) on Monday as Congress corporators belonging to Patidar community entered the meeting hall with their heads and hands bandaged to protest, what they called, police atrocities on their fellow-community members in Mehsana the previous day even as spectators raised slogans in favour of the ongoing Patidar quota agitation.
Six corporators of Opposition Congress entered the general board meeting hall of RMC with straps on their heads and hands. Jayanti Butani, Paresh Harsonda, Urvashi Patel, Rekha Gajera, Sanjay Ajudiya and Mansukh Kalariya were among those who protested “police action in Mehsana,” at the meeting.
While the proceeding of the trimonthly meeting was on, some supporters of the Patidar quota agitation who were sitting the spectators’ gallery begged mayor Jayman Upadhyay to allow them to ask a couple of questions. However, the mayor, in his capacity as the presiding officer of the meeting, rejected the demand and ordered their removal from the meeting hall. As marshals took them away, they raised slogans of “Jai Patidar, Jai Sardar.”
The corporators said they wanted to express their solidarity with fellow Patidars injured in violence during jail bharo event of Sardar Patel Group (SPG) held in Mehsana on Sunday to demand reservation in government jobs and admission to higher education institutions.
“Police beat up Patidars in Mehsana. Their heads and hands were broken. Therefore, to express our solidarity with the injured and protest against police atrocities, we bandaged our heads and arms and protested publicly,” said Butani.
While the corporators did not raise any slogans, they said they supported those who shouted them from spectators gallery.
Leader of Opposition in RMC, Vashram Sagathiya said the protest had approval of Congress party. “At the meeting of coordination committee of Congress, our corporators hailing from the Patidar community said they would like to protest at the general board meeting. We agreed and they protested by attending the meeting as if they were injured,” said Sagathiya.
Incidentally, the jail bharo event of SPG had turned violent with mobs indulging in stone pelting and police resorting to lathicharge.
SPG chief Lalji Patel was also injured in the violence. After the violence in Mehsana and Surat, Patidar groups leading the quota stir had given a call for state-wide bandh on Monday. However, the bandh call drew a lame response in Rajkot city and most of Saurashtra region.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines