Other States

Patel quota agitation: clashes between Patels and police in Mehsana, Surat

Sardar Patel Group Chief Lalji Patel injured during Jail Bharo Aandolan in Mahesana. Photo: Special Arrangement  

The Patidar community’s agitation in Gujarat again turned violent on Sunday. The authorities imposed a curfew on Mehsana and shut down mobile Internet services in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Mehsana and Morbi. Paramilitary forces and the State Reserve Police were deployed in sensitive places.

The Patidars have called a Gujarat bandh for Monday.

The Sardar Patel Group and the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, which spearhead the agitation, organised a rally to court arrest so as to demand reservation and the release of Patel leader Hardik Patel.

The administration had denied permission for the rally, calling it “illegal” and “anti-national.”

Clashes broke out between the police and agitators. The police resorted to a baton charge and lobbed teargas shells. Several policemen were injured in stone-throwing. Sardar Patel Group leader Lalji Patel was reportedly thrashed by the police and was admitted to hospital.

“This government is using its machinery to suppress our agitation. They are not allowing us to even take out a peaceful rally. This is an anti-people government,” Lalji Patel told The Hindu from hospital. “The government is not serious about resolving the issues we have raised, including quota in education and government jobs.”

Following the clashes, the agitators burnt the offices of Rajni Patel, junior Home Minister and MLA from Mehsana district, and Nitin Patel, Health Minister and Mehsana MLA, and Mehsana MP Jayshriben Patel. Mobs torched several police vehicles and public property, including the vehicle of a Deputy Collector.

Clashes between the police and agitators were reported from Surat. The police lobbed 50 rounds of teargas shells and over 400 agitators were detained. In Ahmedabad, two municipal transport buses were damaged and mobs ransacked works under construction by the Ahmedabad metro rail project.

“DGP in charge P.P. Pandey said the situation was under control in Mehsana.

In the evening, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh called up Chief Minister Anandiben Patel and discussed the situation.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2021 5:30:49 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/Patel-quota-agitation-clashes-between-Patels-and-police-in-Mehsana-Surat/article14242374.ece

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