This Article is From Apr 18, 2016

Gujarat Holds Talks With Patels, 'Not Invited' Claims Hardik's Group

Gujarat Holds Talks With Patels, 'Not Invited' Claims Hardik's Group

Patel community protesters, demanding the release of Hardik Patel from jail, clashed with the police in Mehsana yesterday. (PTI Photo)

Highlights

  • Internet services on mobiles blocked in Ahmedabad and 3 other cities
  • Violent protests on Sunday demanding release of Patel leader Hardik Patel
  • Patels are demanding reservation in government jobs and colleges
Mehsana: The Gujarat government held talks with leaders of some Patel groups in Gandhinagar today, a day after members of the community clashed with the police in Mehsana during a protest demanding the release from jail of 23-year-old Hardik Patel, the face of their campaign for reservation. But Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) stayed away from the meeting saying it was not invited.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:

  1. The Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, along with the Sardar Patel Group had called for a bandh or shutdown in Gujarat today against the police action.

  2. Yesterday, about 5000 protesters clashed with the police in Mehsana, the home district of Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, setting two government offices on fire and attacking vehicles. There are no reports of violence from any part of the state since Sunday afternoon.

  3. Curfew was lifted in Mehsana today but there is tight security in major cities of the state. Internet services on mobile phones have been blocked in Ahmedabad, Surat, Mehsana and Rajkot till at least Monday evening to prevent the spread of protests. Schools and colleges are open.

  4. The protesters had been stopped by the police from marching to the city prison to court arrest. The police used batons and tear-gas and about two dozen protesters were injured. Fifteen people were arrested.

  5. Five policemen were also injured in the clash, which began after protesters threw stones at the police, alleged Mehsana District Collector Lochan Sehra, who said there was no permission for the rally. "There was stone throwing at the police following which police had to take action as per law," he said.

  6. Among the protesters injured was another prominent Patel leader and Hardik Patel's associate Lalji Patel. "I kept on telling the police that it's a peaceful rally and I a Patel leader. They still attacked me with batons," Lalji Patel said. A police complaint has been filed against him and some other Patel leaders on charges of instigating violence, a senior police official told NDTV.

  7. Hardik Patel - the leader of a massive agitation to demand benefits of affirmative action for the Patel community - has been in jail since October last year on charges of sedition. His bail petitions have repeatedly been rejected by courts.

  8. "Agitations keep going on, the government's job is to serve the people," said Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, who has made clear that the demand of the Patel community for reservation in government jobs and colleges cannot be met.

  9. The Opposition Congress has demanded Anandiben's resignation. "This government has failed in the state. I would like to say that Anandiben Patel should immediately resign," said Congress leader Arjun Modhwadia.

  10. The Patels - a politically influential community in Gujarat that has for years backed the BJP - have targeted the party's government in Gujarat over the last year with escalated protests. Hardik Patel was arrested in October after the police accused him of inciting anti-government riots.