AHMEDABAD: Alleging inaction on the part of Gujarat government in reining in "anti-social" elements thriving on illegal shrimp farming in Bharuch district which was hit by communal clashes, around 200 members of BJP from Hansot and Ankleshwar talukas have resigned from the party.
Prominent among them are Ankleshwar taluka BJP chief Naran Patel, youth wing president Vivek Bhardiwala and several other office-bearers.
In their joint resignation letter sent to BJP's Bharuch district president Yogesh Patel last night, these leaders claimed though BJP is in power, both in Gujarat as well as at Centre, officials are ignoring them.
Naran Patel has alleged that illegal shrimp farming is the "root cause" behind the frequent clashes as miscreants are getting funds from the illegal business.
In the latest incident, clashes broke out between two communities in Ambetha and Hansot villages of Bharuch on January 14 over a minor issue in which two youths were killed and many others got injured.
Around 50 people have so far been arrested in connection with the riots.
"There are around 3000 illegal ponds in and around Hansot, which are used for shrimp farming without any permission. Some anti-social elements are earning Rs 1 lakh per pond every year from this business. They are using this money power to spread their dominance and cause trouble to locals," Patel alleged.
He accused the state government, headed by chief minister Anandi Patel, of turning a "blind eye" to these elements who he said are behind spreading the violence.
"We have made numerous representations to government earlier about this issue but no action was taken," Patel alleged.
In the letter sent to the district president, Patel alleged that police are "biased" against a particular community and are making selective arrests.
"Though BJP is ruling in state as well as at Centre, officials do not listen to us. Though two of our brothers have died, police ise taking action against our community only. Thus, around 200 BJP members and leaders have given their resignations as a sign of protest," Patel said.
However, Bharuch district unit chief Yogesh Patel has downplayed the issue.
"They have just made a strong representation about the issue through their letter, which cannot be considered as their resignation. I met them personally yesterday and pacified them. In coming days, state BJP leaders will also meet them and find a solution. We will also put forward this issue to state government" he said.
Bharuch MP and union minister of state for tribal affairs Mansukh Vasava had earlier blamed police for "failing" to take appropriate action to tackle riots.