The Gujarat bandh called by Hardik Patel, leader of an agitation by the Patel community demanding reservation, paralysed life in the State on Wednesday, with violence claiming eight lives.
Six persons were killed in police firing and two in the rioting. The State government called in the Army to bring the situation under control here. Paramilitary forces have been deployed in other places.
Mr. Patel’s brief arrest on Tuesday had triggered violence all over the State, with protesters torching 100 buses and vandalising property.
The Army staged a flag march here in nine areas under curfew such as the Ghatlodia Assembly constituency, represented by Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, and Naranpura, represented by BJP president Amit Shah. Parts of Surat, Mehsana, Visnagar, Unjha and Kalol in north Gujarat are also under curfew.
“We have called in the Army to take control of the situation. It seems the anger was against the police and so we decided to deploy a neutral force to restore normality,” Chief Secretary G.R. Aloria told The Hindu . “Paramilitary forces have been airlifted and deployed in Surat, Vadodara, Mehsana, Rajkot Morbi and other places.”
“I have asked the police not to use force on civilians without provocation,” Ms. Anandiben Patel said.
Mr. Aloria said the Chief Minister had ordered Ahmedabad Police Commissioner Shivanand Jha to inquire into the baton-charge on the protesters. Director-General of Police P.C. Thakur warned the police against harassing civilians.
(With PTI inputs)