Surat (Mehsana): A Patel community rally at Mehsana town in Gujarat demanding reservation and release of their jailed leaders on Sunday turned violent. The police lathicharged and fired teargas shells on the agitators who were allegedly engaged in stone-pelting.
Following the protest, the agitating Patidars launched the ‘jail bharo’ andolan in the state demanding the release of Hardik Patel.
It was also reported that Patel quota agitation leader Lalji Patel, who called for a second round of agitation after the government did not accept their demands, was also detained by the police.
“For last several months, the Gujarat government has been talking about compromise with the Patel community. We had met the state government representatives and submitted a list of our demands with an ultimatum of one month. But the government has done nothing,” said Lalji Patel, head of the SPG.
“Our principal demand is quota in education and government jobs for our community,” Mr. Lalji Patel added.
However, the Chief Minister Anandiben Patel has given assurance that everything will be done to ensure that law and order in the state does not suffer.
At least two dozen people were injured in Mehsana as clashes broke out between protesters and police and around 500 were detained in Surat on Sunday, sparking fears of a revival of the Patel community’s quota agitation. Prominent Patel community leader Lalji Patel was among those injured.
Around 5,000 protesters had gathered at Modhera crossroad as part of the ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation announced by the Sardar Patel Group (SPG). This group seeks OBC quota for the Patel community.
All bus routes in Botad district have been suspended as a form of precautionary measure. Even, curfew has been imposed and Internet services have been suspended till 12 midnight tomorrow.
Meanwhile, SPG as well as Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have given a call for ‘Gujarat Bandh’ tomorrow.