Members of the Patel community clashed with police in Gujarat’s Mehsana town on Sunday, after their rally demanding reservation and the release of their jailed leaders turned violent. Police used lathicharge and water cannons, and fired teargas shells on protestors, after they allegedly pelted stones at the authorities, reported PTI.
The rally was part of the Jail Bharo agitation launched by the Sardar Patel Group, which is one of the bigger outfits seeking reservation for the Patel community. SPG head Lalji Patel suffered a head injury during the clashes with police. The group, along with the Hardik Patel-led Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, has called for a Gujarat bandh on Monday.
While protestors said their rally was a peaceful one and they had not provoked the authorities, police said they resorted to lathicharge only after some agitators started throwing stones at the police vehicles. The Gujarat government’s spokesperson Nitin Patel appealed to the protestors to maintain peace.
Mehsana collector Lochan Sehra imposed curfew in the town on Sunday afternoon and banned internet services. The Surat Police also detained as many as 435 protestors, who had taken to the streets after hearing what happened in Mehsana.