Patel quota agitation: Gujarat continues to burn; nine killed, army called in

Ahmedabad and many other places in the state continued to burn for the second straight day on Wednesday as there was no let up in violence and rioting, sparked off by the police crackdown on Patel protestors late on Tuesday evening. Death toll in the violence of the last 24 hours rose to six, even as the Army was called in to quell the rioting.


Curfew was clamped in Ramol, Nikol, Bapunagar, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, and other parts of Ahmedabad city, and parts of Surat, Mehsana, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Patan and other cities. However, violence continued unabated throughout the day with protestors resorting to arson, stone pelting and attacks on public and private properties.

Many incidents of police attacking innocent citizens were also reported, even as Hardik Patel, who is spearheading the stir demanding reservation for Patels, said they would intensify protests in the coming days. Patel denied that the protestors started the violence, and said the police were responsible for the rioting.

The violence has so far claimed six lives, including three in Ahmedabad. A father-son duo was killed in police firing in Ramol area of Ahmedabad. Two deaths were reported in Banaskantha and one in Mehsana, said officials.
The violence surged even as prime minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Anandiben Patel appealed to the citizens to maintain peace.

“I appeal to all brothers and sisters of Gujarat that they should not resort to violence. The only mantra must be peace. Violence has never done good for anyone. All issues can be resolved peacefully through talks,” Modi said in a televised address in Gujarati.

The Gujarat bandh call given by the Patels to protest the police lathicharge on protesting community members was successful and brought life to a grinding halt as schools & colleges, shops, commercial establishments and factories remained closed across most parts of the state. Mobile internet and sms services were unavailable throughout the day, and are likely to be disrupted on Thursday too, according to authorities.

At least 12 trains were cancelled and 19 trains were diverted inside Gujarat, Western Railway PRO Pradip Sharma said. Another five trains were diverted out of the state. Tracks were damaged in several places. At Sarbarmati railway station here, a mob tried to set fire to a freight train but the Railway police foiled the attempt.

Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to Anandiben in the morning and assured her full support to tackle the situation.

About 5,000 personnel of paramilitary forces were rushed to the state to quell the violence. State DGP PC Thakur said a total of 133 companies of State Reserve Police as well as central paramilitary forces including CRPF and BSF had been deployed in the state.

Later, the Army was also called in, which conducted flag mach on different routes in Ahmedabad city. Army companies were also deployed in Surat and Mehsana, the two places which also witnessed widespread rioting.

However, once the army was gone, large crowds took to the streets in Patel-dominated areas such as Ghatlodia and Gota.