For the last 20 hours, internet services on mobile phones have been suspended. Even when connected to wi-fi, Facebook messenger, Instagram and Whatsapp services are down in the state. The move came hours after Hardik Patel had sent a message on WhatsApp asking people to remain calm. The police confirmed that they had shut down internet services on mobile phones as a security measure.
Along with that major internet service providers have also shut down their services. Late on Wednesday night, Mr Patel had written: “I make an appeal to maintain peace and keep calm. I give a call for Gujarat bandh tomorrow (Wednesday). This decision has been taken by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti considering widespread violence in the state.”
Whatsapp had been used by Patel’s supporters to communicate with one another. A police officer was quoted saying: “Last night, there were concerns of rumour-mongering and crowd mobilization through WhatsApp.” At the time of writing (8:35 PM), internet services are still suspended in Gujarat.
Reacting to the unrest, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had appealed to the people of the state to maintain peace and uphold the values of democracy. Sporadic incidents of violence were reported last night in Ahmedabad and Surat last night, following Hardik Patel’s detention. About 5,000 paramilitary personnel were rushed to Gujarat in the morning. Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, assuring her full support to tackle the situation.