Patel community agitation: 5 killed in violence; schools, colleges to remain closed in Ahmedabad

Patel community agitation in Gujarat

Ahmedabad, Aug 27: The schools and colleges in Ahmedabad will remain closed on Thursday due to ongoing agitation by members of the Patel community.

Meanwhile, Army has been deployed at Surat, Rajkot and Mehsana regions of Gujarat. Multiple trains were cancelled, partially cancelled or diverted on Wednesday due to the tense situation in the state.

Curfew has been clamped in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Mehasana, Patan, Palanpur, Unjha, Visnagar and Jamnagar.

“Five companies of Army was called in Ahmedabad city to control law and order situation as violence escalated due to the Patel agitation,” Ahmedabad District Collector, Rajkumar Beniwal reportedly said.

The Army will conduct flag-march on five routes of the city, where large number of incidents of violence have erupted, Beniwal added. About 5,000 paramilitary personnel were also rushed to Gujarat in the wake of unabated violence.

Four people were killed in police firing, while one died of head injuries during clashes which started from Tuesday night, police said.

Reacting to the growing state of unrest in Gujarat, Prime Minister Modi had appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace and uphold the values of democracy.

Following arson and stone-pelting incidents by the members of Patel community after the detention of their 22-year-old leader Hardik Patel on Tuesday night, a curfew was imposed in three towns of North Gujarat and some areas of Surat.

About 5,000 paramilitary personnel were also rushed to Gujarat earlier in the wake of violence in several cities.

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, assuring her full support to tackle the situation.

Earlier on Tuesday, Chief Minister Anandiben Patel appealed to the people of Gujarat to maintain peace and not to indulge in activities disrupting law and order across the state.

Patel said on Twitter: “I urge people to refrain from spreading and believing any rumours and support state administration in maintaining peace and harmony across Gujarat. My sincere appeal to the people of Gujarat to maintain peace and not to indulge in activities disrupting law and order across the state.”

She further posted: “Have asked Police Commissioner to carry out thorough investigation in series of events and appropriate action will be taken against the guilty.”

Patel Community protesters demanding OBC reservation had damaged public property and set a bus on fire in Surat.

Campaign leader Hardik Patel, who was leading the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti in its protest, was detained after police used lathi charge at the protest site.

Patel, who was hastily released by the police after seeing the soaring violence by the public, in a stern message to the Gujarat government warned that BJP will not be able to return to power in 2017 if they are not given reservation.

Patel, who has imparted momentum and virulence to the struggle as leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, also threated to go on hunger strike at the venue till Chief Minister Anandiben Patel turns up and takes the memorandum from the outfit.

“If you do not give us our right (reservation), we will snatch it. Whoever will talk of interest of Patels will rule over Patels,” Hardik told the gathering.

“In 1985, we had uprooted Congress from Gujarat, today there is BJP. 2017 (assembly polls) is coming… lotus will not bloom in the mud, it will never bloom. If you will talk about our interest then only we will nurture your lotus,” he said.

Patels have declined to call off the agitation despite Anandiben Patel expressing her inability to accord the OBC status to the community, citing the Supreme Court guidelines and judgements on the issue.

“Some parties say you do not know about Supreme Court guidelines (of 50 per cent cap on reservations), this cannot happen. If Supreme Court can open at 3.30 in the morning for a terrorist, then why not for the youth, the future of this nation?” Hardik said amid thunderous applause by the crowd.

Clashes between Patel community members and local residents were also reported from Vadaj, Vastrapur, Nikol and Paldi areas when they allegedly tried to enforce a bandh called by the agitating outfit.

(With Agency Inputs)

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