Patel quota stir: Curfew withdrawn in Mehsana but internet ban to continue
Mehsana (Gujarat): Curfew imposed in Gujarat’s Mehsana since last evening has been withdrawn this morning. However, internet ban and prohibitory orders under section 144 will remain in force in view of the bandh call given by Sardar Patel Group and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.
The local police has also filed complaints against more than 50 people in connection with yesterday’s violent incidents in Mehsana including stone pelting on police and torching of government vehicles. Besides Mehsana, mobile internet services will remain suspended in Ahmedabad, Surat, Sabarkantha, Banaskantha and Rajkot.
Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order situation across the state. The bandh call has been given to protest against police lathicharge on patidar agitators in Mehsana yesterday.
No untoward incident has been reported from any part of the state since last night barring sporadic incidents of stone pelting and road blockage by the mobs.
161 companies of CRPF and SRP have been deployed across state to maintain law and order. Also 10 companies of paramilitary forces will stay on guard in sensitive towns which are prone to violence in Saurashtra and North Gujarat. Four companies of Rapid Action Force has been deployed in major cities including two in Ahmedabad and one each in Surat and Mehsana.
Leaves of all police personnel in sensitive areas of the state have been cancelled in the wake of the bandh call by Patidars.
Violence revisited CM Anandiben Patel’s home district when thousands of members of the Patel community took out a rally seeking reservation for the community and immediate release of their jailed leaders including 22-year-old Hardik Patel.
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh yesterday called up Anandiben Patel to take stock of the situation.
Govt to hold talks with Patel leaders today
The violence broke out a day before a crucial meeting between Patidar leaders and the government to break the reservation deadlock. The community had submitted a 27-point charter of demands but after talks failed on April 11.
Meanwhile, there are reports that the Gujarat government was planning to hold talks with leaders of the Patel community this afternoon.
The Patidars stir, demanding reservation benefits since July 2015, caught national attention in August when seven people were killed and public property worth Rs 40 crore damaged during clashes with police. Hardik and three of his aides were charged with sedition and put in jail in October, a move that managed to calm down the aggressive campaign.