Gujarat: Patel protest turns ugly, curfew in Mehsana

Mobile internet suspended across major cities in Gujarat as angry protesters set two buildings and police vehicles ablaze, 453 agitators detained in Surat

Mehsana: Curfew was clamped in Mehsana yesterday and mobile internet service banned, as a massive rally of the Patel community demanding reservation and immediate release of their jailed leaders turned violent with two buildings being set ablaze and some police vehicles damaged. Police lathicharged and fired teargas shells on the agitators who engaged in stone pelting.

Police lathicharge members of Patidar community after their ‘Jail Bharo Andolan’ in Mehsana took a violent turn. Pic/PTI

Patel protesters had gathered at Modhera crossroad as part of the ‘Jail Bharo’ agitation announced by the Sardar Patel Group (SPG), one of the prominent groups seeking OBC quota for the Patel community.

SPG chief Lalji Patel sustained head injury during the face-off with the police.

"Our protest was peaceful as announced earlier. However, police suddenly hit me and some of our members, when we were walking ahead of the procession. I was hit on head. You can see the blood on my face. We were beaten up without any provocation," said Patel, who along with some other agitators were detained by the police.

In Surat, police detained 435 Patel agitators who hit the streets after learning about incidents in Mehsana. Surat police commissioner Ashish Bhatia said the situation was under control. Mobile internet services were banned in Surat and Rajkot as a precautionary measure, district authorities said.‘Curfew till Monday’

"We have imposed a curfew in Mehsana town till tomorrow [Monday] morning. Mobile internet service has been suspended during this period. The violent mob set ablaze two government properties... a sub-divisional magistrate and a mamlatdar (revenue officer) were injured in the stone-pelting," said Lochan Sehra, collector of Mehsana.

Meanwhile, SPG and Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti have given a call for ‘Gujarat Bandh’ today.

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