Tensions run high in city

The High Court directed the Ahmedbad Police Commissioner to immediately remove "erring policemen" from the Bapunagar police station.

Updated - March 29, 2016 06:07 pm IST

Published - August 30, 2015 03:16 am IST - Ahmedabad

In a sign that tensions are still running high in the city, the Gujarat government late on Saturday evening moved the High Court for an emergency hearing to request that curfew be imposed on the Bapunagar area where the funeral of Shwetang Patel, a 32-year-old man who died allegedly while in police custody, will take place on Sunday morning.

The High Court, while allowing the request, directed the Ahmedbad Police Commissioner to immediately remove “erring policemen” from the Bapunagar police station.

Shwetang’s funeral procession is expected to draw thousands of people from the Patel community who are already enraged by the excessive force used by police personnel to counter their protest. The police told the High Court that the law and order situation was precarious and could worsen after the charged procession on Sunday.

On the public holiday of Raksha Bandhan, the State government and the Ahmedabad police jointly approached the High Court’s acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel. Besides the imposition of curfew, they also sought to be allowed to determine the route of the procession and the number of people who can join it.

After a 45-minute hearing, conducted by acting Chief Justice Jayant Patel and Justice N.V. Anjaria, the court told the Advocate General that the high power committee of the government could impose curfew if needed, while directing that adequate security arrangements should be made for the event.

Video clips on excesses Over the past two days, stories of excessive police violence have dominated discussion in Ahmedabad, supported by a series of grisly video clips recorded during the two-day unrest that engulfed the State following a massive rally by the Patel community. The videos, recorded in CCTV as well as on mobile phones, show police personnel entering neighbourhoods and housing colonies where Patels live and indiscriminately attacking people or breaking window panes. According to members of the Patel community, all this was done without provocation and a theory has grown amongst them that the police personnel who engaged in this violence mostly belonged to OBC communities, who are opposed to Patels asking for a share of the reservation pie.

Ahead of the funeral procession on Sunday, things still remain in a state of high alert with residents predicting that the protests may flare up again soon.

PTI adds...

In an unprecedented hearing at night, the Gujarat High Court on Saturday allowed the administration to take appropriate action, including imposition of curfew, to maintain law and order on a government plea fearing violence at Sunday’s funeral of Shwetang Patel, who was allegedly killed in police custody during the Patel quota agitation.

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