Curfew was imposed in Gujarat’s Mehsana town after a massive rally of the Patel community demanding reservation and release of their jailed leaders on Sunday turned violent. Police had to use lathicharge and fire teargas shells on the agitators who allegedly engaged in stone-pelting.
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 received head injury during the face-off with the police. While the police claimed they resorted to lathicharge only after some persons started throwing stones at the police vehicles, Lalji Patel alleged that Patel agitators were targeted without any provocation.
“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 subsequently.
In-charge DGP of Gujarat P P Pandey claimed the situation deteriorated only after some people resorted to violence.
“Police always work to establish peace. The gathering was peaceful initially. However, the situation deteriorated only after some persons resorted to violence and damaged property. I have already sent additional force to handle the situation,” Pandey said.
Meanwhile, SPG as well as Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) have given a call for `Gujarat Bandh’ on Monday.