Gujarat clashes kill 8; Army stages march

State govt clamps curfew, curbs Internet services

Gujarat clashes kill 8; Army stages march

The Army and 5,000 personnel from paramilitary forces descended on Gujarat on Wednesday after the violence that marred the Patel community’s agitation for OBC status left eight dead, including a policeman, and scores injured.

Curfew was imposed in several parts of the state and Internet connectivity was curbed to stop unwanted and unwarranted exchange of messages on social media.

“Among the civilians who lost their lives, five are from Ahmedabad and two from Sabarkantha district. All of them succumbed to police firing,” a senior police officer said on condition of anonymity.

A constable succumbed to injuries sustained during stone throwing in Surat. Large crowds continued to gather on main roads and streets across the state, including in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Patan, Mehsana, Kalol, Himmatnagar and Palanpur.Reports of crowds burning government property, blocking national highways, removing railway tracks and targeting offices of several BJP leaders continued to pour in throughout the day.

The residence of state Home Minister Rajni Patel, Law Minister Pradipsinh Jadeja, Morbi MLA Kantilal Amrutiya and Unjha MLA Naranbhai were targeted.The situation remained fluid during the day as reports of state government moving in paramilitary forces for deployment to various cities and towns continued to pour in till late in the evening.

Rumours add fuel

The situation took an ugly turn as reports of police atrocities started floating around.

There were reports of policemen entering residential complexes in one part of the city, beating people and damaging vehicles. This led to a fresh bout of violence across the state. The Army had to be brought in to Ahmedabad, as well as Mehsana and Surat, to conduct a flag march and restore confidence among the people.

While one part of Ahmedabad continued to burn, the other part came to a complete stop the second day in a row. Though political and religious leaders pleaded with citizens to maintain peace, the situation remained tense across the state.

The state government has ordered educational institutions to remain shut till Monday. The trouble began on Tuesday night after the detention of 22-year-old leader of the agitation, Hardik Patel, after over a million members from the Patel community took part in a “Maha Kranti rally” demanding OBC status and reservation. 

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