This Article is From Apr 18, 2016

Mobile Internet Blocked, Strike Called As Patel Groups, Police Clash In Gujarat: 10 Facts

Police used water canons, batons and tear-gas shells against Patel protesters in Mehsana. (PTI photo)

Highlights

  • Mobile internet suspended in Ahmedabad, Surat and two other cities
  • Curfew imposed in Mehsana, 500 people detained in Surat after clashes
  • Protesters wanted to hold a rally seeking release of leader Hardik Patel
Mehsana: Mobile internet services have been blocked in Ahmedabad, Surat and two other cities in Gujarat, after protesters demanding the release from jail of 23-year-old activist Hardik Patel clashed with the police today.

Here are the 10 latest developments in this story:

  1. About two dozen people were injured in Mehsana, where the police used batons and tear-gas to stop about 5,000 Patel protesters from marching to the city prison in a 'jail bharo' or 'fill jail" agitation. Around 500 people were detained in Surat.

  2. Patel protesters have called for a bandh all over Gujarat on Monday in protest against today's police action. There is curfew in Mehsana, which has a big Patel population, and security has been stepped up in all major cities.

  3. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel to take stock of the situation.

  4. Mobile internet services were suspended in Ahmedabad, Mehsana, Surat and Rajkot on Sunday evening to prevent protests sparked by the spread of rumours. As word about the Mehsana clash had spread, protesters gathered in Surat and the police used tear-gas and batons to disperse them.

  5. 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.

  6. Among those injured in Mehsana today is 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.

  7. Permission for today's Patel rally had been denied, said Mehsana District Collector Lochan Sehra. "There was stone pelting at the police following which police had to take action as per law," he said. Fifteen people have been held for setting fire to a government warehouse. Five policemen have also been injured.

  8. "Agitations keep going on, the government's job is to serve the people," said Chief Minister 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 police accused him of inciting anti-government riots.



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