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Tension in Surat following arrest of Hardik Patel’s aide in old sedition case

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Surat | Tension gripped this Gujarat city with mobs setting ablaze a BRTS bus and vandalising a bus stand tonight, apparently in protest against the arrest of Patidar quota agitation leader Alpesh Kathiriya, a close aide of Hardik Patel, by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in an old sedition case. The bus was set ablaze in the Yogi Chowk area and the bus stand in the Varachha area.

The mobs also burnt tyres on roads and indulged in stone pelting. Kathiriya is a leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), an outfit organising protests demanding reservation for the Patidar community. He was arrested by the Crime Branch in Ahmedabad when he was on his way to stage a symbolic fast.

Surat Police Commissioner Satish Sharma said the situation was under control and the police were trying to ascertain who were behind the violence.

“A BRTS bus was set ablaze and a bus stand damaged by mobs, but we have brought the situation under control. We are trying to ascertain who all were behind the violence. It appears that those behind the violence are PAAS members and those sympathising with the outfit,” he said.

Sharma added that patrolling was intensified since evening, anticipating violence, after Kathiriya, who is from Surat, was arrested by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch in an old sedition case.

Kathiriya was detained, along with Patel, who is spearheading the protest demanding reservation for the Patidar community, and seven others by the Ahmedabad Crime Branch this morning when they were on their way to a protest site to observe a symbolic fast.

While eight of them were released on bail after being booked under sections 143 (punishment for unlawful assembly) and 186 (obstructing public servant in discharge of public functions) of the IPC, Kathiriya was shown as arrested in a sedition case dating back to 2015, in which he was an accused, a Crime Branch official said. This had apparently irked the PAAS members and sympathisers, who indulged in violence, Sharma said.

Meanwhile, Patel released a video clip, appealing for peace. “I request the people to maintain peace and not destroy public property. Whatever the police did was not right, but what is being done now is also not right. Protest, but peacefully and constitutionally, not by destroying government property. I appeal for peace,” he said in the clip.

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Tremendous efforts made to catch absconding former minister: Bihar DGP

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Manju Verma

Patna | Under fire from the Supreme Court over its inability to arrest absconding former minister Manju Verma, the Bihar Police on Friday asserted that it was making tremendous efforts to nab the suspended Janata Dal (United) leader.

The Supreme Court on Monday rapped the state police for failing to arrest Verma in connection with an Arms Act case, which cropped up in course of the CBI probe into the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal. It directed Director General of Police K S Dwivedi to appear before it in person on November 27 if she was not nabbed by then.

In reply to a query, the DGP said Friday attempts were being made to secure her arrest. “We are making tremendous efforts.” Dwivedi said no time-frame could be given for the arrest of any person wanted in a criminal case. “Though we appreciate the concern expressed by the Supreme Court, we hope to trace her very soon.”

The officer said some objection was raised from Verma’s side before a court in Begusarai district when they tried to initiate proceedings for attaching her property. “We are working to get that resolved,” he added. The former minister had last week moved an application before the Begusarai court, through her lawyer, pleading that she not be treated as an absconder as she was not evading arrest, but trying to seek relief as per law.

Verma had stepped down as the minister for social welfare in August, following reports that her husband, Chandrashekhar Verma, had close links with Brajesh Thakur , the prime accused in the Muzaffarpur shelter home sex scandal.

During a raid by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) at her in-laws’ residence in Begusarai, a huge quantity of ammunition was recovered, following which the agency lodged an FIR against the couple. The former ministers’ pleas for anticipatory bail have been rejected by the lower court as well as the Patna High Court. Her husband surrendered before a Begusarai court last month after several weeks of dodging the police.

An embarrassed JD(U), headed by Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, said Thursday it had suspended her from the primary membership of the party. Meanwhile, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Hindustani Awam Morcha have accused the ruling party of shielding the absconding two-time MLA.

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Sabarimala row : Police have asked me to return to Pune: Trupti Desai

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Kochi | Amid over a 12-hour stand-off with devotees and others, including BJP workers, at the airport here vowing not to let her proceed to the Sabarimala shrine, activist Trupti Desai said police have asked her to return to Pune. The development comes even as the doors to the Lord Ayyappa temple opened for the “Mandala Makkaravillakku” puja.

The activist, who reached here around 4.40 am along with six young women en route to the hill temple, has been unable to come out of the airport, with the protesters saying her group would not be allowed to proceed to the Sabarimala temple. Desai said police officers held a meeting with her. “Police have requested me to return to Pune,” she told reporters. Desai said she will announce her decision by 6.30 pm.

Protesting local BJP leaders at the airport said the devotees, including women, would not let Desai and her colleagues to come out of the airport and proceed to Sabarimala temple. They alleged that Desai and her team came here to violate the centuries-old custom of the temple that prevented entry of women and girls in the age group of 10 and 50. Talking to the media over the phone, Desai earlier said she would not go back without darshan at the Lord Ayyappa temple.

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#Watch: “Swamiye Ayyappa” chants echo outside Cochin airport as Trupti Desai waits inside

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The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Trupti Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”. 

 

Cochin| The crowd of protesters outside the Cochin airport is swelling since the morning to oppose the activist Trupti Desai from entering Sabarimala. The protestors who are conducting a sit-in protest outside the airport warned Desai that she can only enter the temple “over their bodies”.

On the other hand, Trupti Desai vowed to not go back without the Darshan of Lord Ayyappa at the Sabarimala Temple. However, several Hindu organizations have indicated at statewide protests if she tries to enter the hill shrine.

Currently, Desai along with a group of women activists accompanying her is waiting at the Cochin airport. The stalment has continued since morning. The Kerala police tried to take her out safely through cargo area but it failed as the protesters caught a wind of the move.

Watch: Devotees chant “Swamiye Ayyappa” outside Cochin airport during the protest.

 

Watch: Activist Trupti Desai waits at the Cochin airport

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