The agitation of Patel community seeking reservation under OBC quota turned violent on Tuesday with clashes being reported in various parts of the city as police resorted to baton-charging and lobbed teargas shells to control the situation, officials said. Clashes between Patel community members and local residents were reported in Vadaj, Vastrapur, Nikol and Paldi areas when they tried to enforce a bandh called by their community leader Hardik Patel after their mega rally.
In Vadaj area, when groups of Patel community members on scooters and bikes tried to enforce the bandh, local residents of Dalit community resisted which resulted in clashes and stone-pelting between the two communities, police said.
“Police lobbed a tear-gas shell and also baton-charged crowd when two groups of Patels and Dalits clashed with each other,” city control room’s police inspector D R Dhamal said. The protesters of Patel community allegedly vandalised shops and buses in the area near Vadaj Police chowk and later had a scuffle with Dalit community members, Dhamal said.
According to another police official, several clashes were reported in Vastrapur, Paldi and Nikol areas of the city after protesters from Patel community used force to shut down shops. Large groups of Patel community youths went around on various roads of the city on their two-wheelers wielding sticks to enforce the bandh. Reports have also come that some miscreants damaged window panes of city buses at various places.
Reacting to the protest’s violent turn, Hardik Patel, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti who is spearheading the agitation, said the police wrongfully beat up protesters and threatened that the government would face worst result.
“The police have done wrong by beating protesters of the Patel community in Paldi and Mansi cross road in Vastrapur,” he said.
“They were taking out rally peacefully, when the police resorted to lathi-charge. The government should now be ready to face the worst result,” he warned.