Surat, Apr 8 (PTI) Three Dalit men were today arrested for disrupting the press conference of Union minister Ramdas Athawale here, the police said.

The incident happened at the state circuit house in Athwalines here in the afternoon, they said.

Police identified the arrested persons as Kunal Sonawane (38), Manoj Paide (30), and Dipak Sathave (28).

Sonawane, an activist, was upset about Athawale keeping mum on the “atrocities” against the community despite being a senior Dalit politician, the police said.

He went around the dais where Athawale was sitting, and placed a black cloth on his shoulder as a mark of protest.

The two others arrested were with Sonawane at the time of the incident.

The minister’s supporters whisked Sonawane away and handed him over to the police. Sonawane and two others have been booked under relevant sections of the IPC, Inspector F B Bharwad of the Umra police station said.

Meanwhile, talking to reporters, the minister said Dalit leader and Independent MLA Jignesh Mevani should follow the path of Babasaheb Ambedkar and stop “supporting Naxals”.

He said that Gujarat Patidar quota spearhead Hardik Patel had misled the community.

Athawale said that Patel should stop supporting the Congress, and back Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the BJP instead to ensure that the benefits of reservation reached his community.

This is published unedited from the PTI feed.