Security stepped up in Gujarat amid Patels' 'bandh' call

Ahmedabad: In view of the violence that erupted in parts of Gujarat following a massive Patel community rally in Mehsana and tomorrow's 'Gujarat Bandh' call given by some Patel organisations, the state government has deployed Rapid Action Force (RAF) in Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Surat and stepped up security in others places.

Gujarat Chief Secretary G R Aloria said five companies of Rapid Action Force (RAF) have been deployed in these three cities. In addition, 20 companies of the State Reserve Police (SRP) have also been posted across the state. The Sardar Patel Group (SPG) as well as Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have given a call for 'Gujarat Bandh' tomorrow.

"Apart from regular police force, we have deployed two companies of RAF at Ahmedabad and Mehasana each and one company at Surat. If needed, we may ask the Centre to allot 10 more companies of RAF to handle the situation," Aloria said after holding a review meet with top officials late evening.

Earlier today, a massive rally of the Patel community demanding reservation and immediate release of their jailed leaders turned violent in Mehsana, as the angry mob resorted to arson and stone pelting. The violence quickly spread in other cities like Ahmedabad and Surat.

Curfew was today clamped in Mehsana town in Gujarat and mobile internet service banned as the rally held by 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.

Aloria claimed that police showed maximum restraint in controlling the violent mob at Mehsana. "Police showed maximum restraint in terms of using force. Police have used water canons and tear gas shells to control the mob. Police have fired some rounds in the air. Due to such restraint, no life has been lost today" said Aloria.

According to Aloria, no major incident of violence took place across the state today. "Barring Mehsana, other parts of state remained largely calm. In all, protesters set ablaze five buses, two government buildings and some police motorcycles in different parts of state," Aloria said.

"Adequate arrangements have been made to ensure that no untoward incident takes place tomorrow. Police and para military forces are given orders to conduct round the clock patrolling. Police force has been deployed at all the sensitive areas of the state from today evening," he added.

Meanwhile, in-charge state DGP P P Pandey also reviewed the security arrangements and ordered deployment of 20 companies of State Reserve Police (SRP) across the state. "We have made all the arrangements to maintain law and order tomorrow. Twenty companies of SRP have been deployed across Gujarat. I appeal the citizens to maintain peace," Pandey said.

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