Tension still prevails in many parts of Gujarat in the wake of the OBC quota protest by Hardik Patel-led Patel community on Tuesday – the death toll in clashes has climbed to nine today and the Army has been deployed in more cities to rein in the violence.
On Tuesday night, after Hardik Patel was briefly taken into custody by police and thereafter hurriedly released, rampaging mobs had damaged bus stations, set on fire vehicles and also attacked the office of Union Minister of State for Agriculture, Mohan Kundaria, in Rajkot.
Curfew remained clamped in Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Mehsana, Palanpur, Unjha, Visnagar and Jamnagar towns. However it has been lifted in Patan.
Army conducted flag marches in five areas of Ahmedabad yesterday.
Five columns of Army (75 personnel each) were deployed in Ahmedadad last night, while two each have been deployed in Surat, Mehsana and Rajkot, army officials said today.
Train services have been affected as protesters have damaged tracks in at least eight places. 12 trains have been cancelled and 19 partially cancelled, a railway official said.
Barring a few incidents of stone pelting, police control room officials said no major violence was reported in the state overnight.
A constable of Chowk Bazaar police station, Dilip Rathore, who was injured in clashes in Dabholi area, succumbed at a private hospital, taking the toll in the violence to nine.
The violence started on Tuesday after a massive rally of the Patel community. Hardik Patel, who is leading the stir, had called for a state-wide bandh on Wednesday.
Six people were killed in firing by police and paramilitary forces, while two others died following clashes, police said. Four deaths were reported in Ahmedabad, three in Gadh village of Banaskantha district and one in Mehasana town.
Earlier yesterday, in a televised address in Gujarati, the Prime Minister appealed for peace and emphasised that all the issues can be resolved through talks.
“I appeal to all brothers and sisters of Gujarat that they should not resort to violence. The only ‘Mantra’ must be ‘Shanti’ (peace),” said Modi.
Across Gujarat, a total of 133 companies of State Reserve Police as well as central paramilitary forces including CRPF and BSF had been deployed, according to Director General of Police P C Thakur.
Each company comprises 80 personnel. Forty-nine of these companies are deployed in Ahmedabad, six in Vadodara, 10 in Surat, three companies in Rajkot and remaining in other parts of the state to maintain the law and order, he said.
Meanwhile, several religious leaders, including Morari Bapu and Pramukh Swami Maharaj of the Swaminaryan sect, have issued appeals for peace.