Gujarat: Curfew imposed in Mehsana as Patel protesters turn violent, internet service suspended
Mehsana: Curfew was imposed in Gujarat’s Mehsana town after a massive rally of the Patel community demanding reservation and release of their jailed leaders today turned violent. Police had to use lathicharge and fire teargas shells on the agitators who allegedly engaged in stone-pelting.
Patel protesters had gathered at Modhera crossroad as part of the ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation announced by the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), one of the prominent groups seeking OBC quota for the Patel community.
Authorities suspended internet service in Mehsana after the violence and police and paramilitary forces were deployed in all north Gujarat towns, besides Ahmedabad and Surat, which are known strongholds of the pro-quota Patels.
More than 1,000 agitators from the Patel community in Mehsana and over 500 in Surat were taken into preventive custody as large crowds gathered near the district jails in both places in defiance of prohibitory orders.
Sardar Patel Group (SPG) convener Lalji Patel sustained head injuries as his supporters pelted policemen with stones.
Patel along with his supporters was also taken into preventive custody.
The SPG has given a call for a shutdown in Gujarat on Monday in protest against the police action.
The SPG is a pro-quota group like the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti of Hardik Patel, which has been agitating for over eight months for reservation for the Patels in government jobs and educational institutions under the Other Backward Class category.
The group earlier announced its second round of agitation if its demands were not met by April 17.
(With inputs from agencies)