With curfew-ridden Ahmedabad teetering on violence, the Centre has stepped in to maintain order, amidst reports, that three people were killed in the aftermath of Patel-community leader, Hardik Patel's, detention by the state police. Patel has now been released by the police.
5,000 personnel of Rapid Action Force, CRPF and BSF trooped to Gujarat, following Union Minister Rajnath's assurance of support to the Gujarat government, on Wednesday in the wake of violence in several cities.
"Extra state reserve police force (SRP) companies have been deployed in the city to bring the situation under control, while we have also sought deployment of central forces. They will be deployed as and when their companies arrive here," Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also uploaded a video beseeching the people of Gujarat to abstain from violence. "Everyone must work together for development and it is through development that we can serve the people, especially the poor," he said.
But tension prevailed in major cities across Gujarat as the news of a mob of around 1,000 people burning down two warehouses of Surat Municipal Corporation in Udhna area of Ahmedabad, spread across the state, according to PTI. Bikes, buses and other vehicles were also burnt at many places in the city, Suart control room police officials said.
After Ahmedabad, the curfew has now been imposed in Mehsana city, Kapodara, Sarthana, Unjha and Visnagar towns after reports of violence in the district.
According to an NDTV report, mobile internet services such as WhatsApp have been suspended in several parts of the state to check the spread of rumours that could aggravate the situation in Gujarat.
The 22-year-old Hardik Patel, who's announced a hunger strike on Tuesday, has been demanding OBC reservation for the Patel community in the state. He raised the stakes and called for a state-wide bandh on Wednesday after which he was detained and later released by the police.
"I give a call for Gujarat bandh on Wednesday. I make an appeal to maintain peace and keep calm. In fact, this decision has been taken by the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, considering the widespread violence in the state," saidPatel.
Patel Agitation: Visuals of vehicles damaged last night in Rajkot pic.twitter.com/OZ2zqFUBzy— ANI (@ANI_news) August 26, 2015
Patel agitation: Visuals of vehicles damaged last night in Surat pic.twitter.com/5dQL8omWUR— ANI (@ANI_news) August 26, 2015
Schools, colleges and in Surat are also to be kept shut amid tight security, according to ANI, with the Surat diamond market is also to remain closed today.
Patel Agitation:Schools and colleges in Rajkot to remain closed amid tight security pic.twitter.com/bhBioB8RGs— ANI (@ANI_news) August 26, 2015
For over a month, the Patel community, has been demanding to be included in the list of social groups eligible for reservation in jobs and educational institutions. "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.
However, others have condemned the premise of the agitation and say that the Patel community, being "economically and socially powerful" did not "need" reservation. On Wednesday morning, Congress leader Manish Tewari told ANI, "This Patel agitation is a failure of Narendra Modi's 'Gujarat model'. If these economically and socially powerful people want reservations, then what is the fault of communities like Brahmins, Rajputs and Bhumiyars (sic)?"
If these economically&socially powerful want reservations then what is fault of Brahmins,Rajputs&Bhumiyars?-Manish Tewari on Patel issue— ANI (@ANI_news) August 26, 2015