AHMEDABAD — 22-year-old Hardik Patel, who was briefly detained over his hunger strike to demand OBC reservation for the Patel community, has called for a state-wide bandh on Wednesday to intensify the agitation.
He also urged his community members to maintain peace as several parts of Gujarat witnessed incidents of violence.
"I make an appeal to maintain peace and keep calm. I give a call for Gujarat bandh tomorrow. This decision has been taken by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti considering widespread violence in the state," Hardik, convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti which is spearheading the agitation, said, late on Tuesday night.
The young leader had been detained earlier on Tuesday after he launched a hunger strike after the rally at the GMDC ground without prior permission. He was later released by the police.
"Police first switched off all the lights at GMDC ground and then took Hardik somewhere. Before that police lathi-charged and even beat up women and small children," Hardik's aide and spokesperson of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samitin Chirag Patel alleged on Tuesday.
Hardik, after addressing a gathering of Patel community members, stated that he along with his three aides will continue with his hunger strike until Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel comes to receive their memorandum of demands.
As the news of detention of Hardik spread, violence broke out first in Ahmedabad and later spread to other cities like Surat, Mehsana, Rajkot and some interior areas of the state.
In fact, curfew was imposed in Mehsana city and the towns of Unjha and Visnagar in Mehsana district later in the day.
"Curfew has been imposed in these towns after incidents of violence in Mehsana district," Mehsana District Collector Lochan Sehra told PTI.
The Patel community of Gujarat has been agitating for around a month to fulfil their demands of reservation under the Other Backward Class (OBC) status.