Quota row: Violence during bandh in Guj, curfew in many parts
Ahmedabad: Fresh violence broke out during a day long bandh today over the demand for OBC quota for Patels in Gujarat even as curfew was clamped in parts of Ahmedabad, Surat and Mehsana districts and thousands of paramilitray and anti-riot personnel were deployed to control the situation.
Tension prevailed in major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and in North Gujarat region, a day after violence erupted following detention of Hardik Patel, who is spearheading the agitation for inclusion of Patels in OBC category for reservation.
Normal life was paralysed as schools, colleges, business establishments including banks and public transport remained closed today in most places in view of the bandh call by Patel after his brief detention yesterday when he was protesting for quota at the GMDC ground here without prior permission.
Incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported in many parts of Surat city today, when Patel community members came out in large numbers to “enforce” the bandh.
A mob of around 1,000 people burnt two warehouses of Surat Municipal Corporation in Udhna area of the city. Bikes, buses and vehicles were burnt at many places in the city, Suart control room police officials said.
The diamond and textile industries of Surat remained closed.
The Centre has rushed about 5,000 personnel of Rapid Action Force, CRPF and BSF to assist the local administration in maintaining law and order.
“Extra state reserve police force (SRP) companies have been deployed in the city to bring the situation under control, while we have also sought deployment of central forces. They will be deployed as and when their companies arrive here,” Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
A Police Sub-Inspector, identified as Mitesh Salunke, was severely injure, when a mob pelted stones in Lalgate area of the city during the violence last night.
In Saurashtra region, there was total bandh in major cities and towns of Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Porbandar. Incidents of sporadic violence were reported in all the four districts during the bandh today, police said.
Rajkot Superintendent of Police (Rural) Gagandeep Gambhir was injured in stone-throwing near Upleta road area, said a police official. There was total bandh in Ahmedabad as schools, colleges, city bus service, business establishments including banks remained closed today. Most of the roads of the city wore a deserted look after last night’s violence.
Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner, Shivanand Jha said, “Police is working to bring law and order situation under control. There are no major incidents of violence in the city morning after curfew was imposed in nine police station areas of the city.”
There was complete bandh in most of the cities in North Gujarat also, while in Central Gujarat, including Vadodara, the bandh call evoked a mixed response.
In Vadodara, schools and colleges remained closed, but shops and commercial establishments were open.
The bandh got a mixed response in Anand town too.
The members of Patel community indulged in arson and stone-pelting and vandalised public property last night after the detention of Hardik.
More than 50 incidents of violence were reported from Ahmedabad city where buses, police posts and private vehicles were set on fire while police personnel were also attacked at some places.
The violence also spread to other parts of the state like Mehsana, Rajkot and Surat. Similar incidents were also reported from remote areas of Saurashtra region.
Meanwhile, curfew was imposed in nine police stations limits of Ahmedabad in the wee hours today at around 2:00 AM. The areas include Ramol, Nikol, Bapunagar, Ghatlodia, Odhav, Naroda, Narayanpura, Krishnanagar and Vadaj, police said.
Curfew was also imposed in parts of Surat city and Mehsana, in Unjha and Vishnagar town of Mehsana district, 90 kms from here, last night.
Chief Minister Anandiben Patel had issued an appeal to people to maintain peace.