Tension subsides in Gujarat

Tension subsides in Gujarat

The violence that gripped Gujarat since Tuesday night over the Patel quota row subsided on Thursday with no fresh reports of turbulence.

Army personnel continued with the flag march for the second day in parts of Ahmedabad, Surat and Navsari while several religious groups made appeal for peace, resulting in a calming effect on the violence that saw nine people dead.

In Ahmedabad, police fired 183 rounds of ammunition, burst 575 teargas shells, registered 36 cases of arson besides arresting 20 people. The state government also extended the blanket ban on messaging services and internet till Saturday.

Trouble began in the BJP-ruled state on Tuesday night following the detention of 22-year-old Hardik Patel, who started a fast after the Maha Kranti Rally held by the Patel community demanding an OBC status and reservation. Though Patel was released later, massive street protests spread in the form of arson, stone pelting and damaging of public property.

Patel later said the police, government and anti-social elements were responsible for the violence. “The government appears to have lost control,” he said, adding: “If the police dare to attack the innocents again...we will hit back hard.”

Demanding Rs 35 lakh to compensate the kin of those killed in violence, Patel threatened to cut off supplies of essentials like vegetables and milk to the city.

Patel is expected to visit New Delhi on Friday to meet up leaders of the Gujjar and Patidar communities from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh to raise the pitch on reservation at the national level.

Govt promises action

Nitin Patel, the spokesperson of the Gujarat government and a Cabinet minister, said the authorities have issued strict instructions to the police. “We have ordered a probe and action will be initiated,” he said.

Court seeks report

Meanwhile, the state high court sought a report from the Ahmedabad police commissioner over police personnel vandalising private property in the city, within two weeks. Referring to the CCTV footage shown by a section of the media, the court asked what is the difference between the rioters and protectors if the police men have indeed done so.

President’s Rule sought

The Opposition Congress on Thursday disrupted an Assembly session in the state, demanding imposition of President’s Rule.

The chaos forced the Speaker, Ganpat Vasava, to adjourn the House four times before suspending all Congress MLAs, except opposition leader and senior leader Shankersinh Vaghela, for a day.

Vaghela, a former chief minister, later told reporters that they had met Governor OP Kohli demanding President’s Rule in the state. He said they would also demand the removal of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel.

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