A man was today detained by the police for throwing bangles at Union minister Smriti Irani while she was addressing a function at Amreli town in Gujarat. The man, in his mid-20s, was identified as Ketan Kaswala, a resident of Mota Bhandaria village in Amreli district, the police said. The incident happened in the evening when the Union textile minister was addressing a gathering as part of the celebrations of the completion of three years of the Narendra Modi government, said Amreli Superintendent of Police (SP) Jagdish Patel. “As the minister was addressing the crowd, Kaswala, who was sitting far from the dais, suddenly got up and threw two or three bangles towards the stage and shouted ‘Vande Mataram’. Due to the distance, the bangles did not reach the stage and the policemen quickly took him away,” he said. While the local Congress leaders claimed that Kaswala, by throwing the bangles, had actually raised the demand for a complete farm loan waiver in the state, the police denied it. “Kaswala is not associated with the Congress or any other organisation. While throwing the bangles, he had shouted ‘Vande Mataram’ and no other slogan,” said Patel.
He added that when the policemen were taking him away, Irani urged them to let Kaswala take part in the event. “The minister even told the policemen to let him throw the bangles which she would send them to his wife as a gift,” said Patel.
Ahead of the function, which was held at the Agriculture University hall, the police had briefly detained around 25 Congress workers for staging protests against the ruling BJP outside the venue.
Local Congress MLA Paresh Dhanani claimed that Kaswala was a farmer who raised the demand for a complete farm loan waiver in Gujarat by throwing the bangles at Irani. “As per my information, Kaswala is a farmer who wanted the government to announce a farm loan waiver. He expressed his anger as Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, both BJP-ruled states, did that recently. But, the BJP government here is yet to announce a farm loan waiver,” he said.
This is the second such incident in the recent past in which a Union minister was targeted in Modi’s home state. On May 28, a member of the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti had hurled a shoe at Union minister Mansukh Mandaviya in Bhavnagar district, alleging that the BJP government was not doing anything for the educated youth of the country.