Patel stir: Gujarat HC pulls up govt over police action

Normalcy returns but ban on Internet, social media continues
Last Updated 28 August 2015, 20:31 IST

Tension in violence-hit Gujarat after the Patel community’s quota stir since Tuesday night eased further on Friday, with no untoward incident reported, even as the Gujarat High Court pulled up the state government for police action against residents and damaging private property.

Curfew, which had been imposed after Hardik Patel's arrest on Tuesday, was lifted on Friday from the Naranpura, Ghatlodia and Vadaj police station areas out of nine such areas in Ahmedabad, beside other parts of the state.

Most educational institutions also began functioning, but the ban on Internet and social media continued for the third consecutive day. The Army staged another flag march in sensitive areas.

Meanwhile, in Gandhinagar, legislators of the ruling BJP attended a meeting chaired by party in-charge for Gujarat Dinesh Sharma. The agenda of the meeting, also attended by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and state BJP president R C Faldu, was political implications on the party due to the Patels' stir.

The BJP has roughly 37 Patel legislators out of 120 in the 182-member Assembly. The chief minister has seven leading Patels in her Cabinet. Six of the party's 26 MPs from Gujarat are also from the community.

These BJP leaders and ministers were on the receiving end of the Patel community's anger during the stir, especially following reports of police excesses.

Earlier, on the third day of the Assembly's Monsoon session, Congress legislators were told to leave the House as they continued to agitate in demand of a discussion on the prevailing law and order situation.

They also wanted Cabinet minister Nitin Patel to clarify on his statement that the Opposition was apparently behind the Patels' stir.

‘Peace is prime concern’

Meanwhile, a two-judge bench of the Gujarat HC, consisting of Acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N V Anjaria, told the state government about the police action: “We are conscious of the fact that police should not have done this. The prime concern of the whole state is peace.” The case will be next heard on September 3.

The court had summoned state home secretary P K Taneja to clarify on the state's actions ahead of Raksha Bandhan on August 29.

In a separate case of a police custodial death of 32-year-old Shwetang Patel from India Colony Road in Ahmedabad's Bapunagar area, the high court ordered a state CID investigation.

Shwetang's family had moved court saying the police picked him up from near his residence on Tuesday and the next day said he had died. They had refused possession of his body without action on the police.

The high court has also directed a panel of doctors to conduct a fresh post mortem, videograph the procedure and not dispose of the body until further orders.

(Published 28 August 2015, 19:57 IST)

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