Curfew imposed in few parts of Gujarat and stone-pelting reported on Wednesday morning
GN Staff | August 26, 2015
Prime minister Narendra Modi called for calm in Gujarat as violence rocked parts of the state. “We can reach a solution through negotiations,” Modi said in Gujarati in his first reaction to the agitation by the Patel community demanding reservation which turned violent after the leader of the community Hardik Patel was briefly detained by police on Tuesday. A solemn-looking Modi appeared on television and appealed for peace in his home state and said violence does not benefit anybody.
Meanwhile, the centre has rushed additional paramilitary forces. About 5,000 personnel of Rapid Action Force, CRPF and BSF have been sent to assist the local administration in maintaining law and order, especially in all curfew-bound areas.
Incidents of stone-pelting were reported on Wednesday morning from Ahmedabad. As many as 100 buses were torched and property damaged in the violence in Ahmedabad, Surat and Mehsana cities and the towns of Unjha and Visnagar.
“The agitators clashed with the police and members of the lower castes. They have burnt down nine police stations and over three dozen buses,” PC Thakur, Gujarat director general of police said.
“We had to impose a curfew to control the clashes. Offices, trading houses and educational institutions will not open today.”
Official sources said authorities clamped prohibitory orders in several cities and shut down educational institutions after violent protesters torched police stations, burnt government and private vehicles and pelted stones at security personnel.
Union home minister Rajnath Singh spoke to chief minister Anandiben Patel on Wednesday morning and assured full central help to tackle the situation.
Hardik Patel had addressed a rally of the Patels in Ahmedabad which was attended by an estimated half-a-million people. Patel has also called for a state-wide shut-down on Wednesday to press for the community’s demand seeking reservation in government jobs and colleges under the other backward class category (OBC).
"If you do not give our right (reservation), we will snatch it. Whoever will talk of interest of Patels will rule over Patels," Hardik told the gathering on Tuesday. The Gujarat government had earlier rejected the demand.
Under a supreme court ruling, reservations cannot cross the 50A% mark in any state which Gujarat has already reached.
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