A 27-year-old man, who was a member of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, committed suicide in Surat on Sunday by consuming a poisonous substance, reported PTI. This follows Sunday's clashes between members of the Patel community and police in the Gujarat's Mehsana town, after a rally demanding reservation for the Patidars and the release of their jailed leaders turned violent.
Bhavin Khunt was actively involved in the Patidar quota agitation and was in deep shock after hearing about the violent clashes between Patel leaders and the police, PAAS said. However, police said they are investigating the matter and the reason for the suicide isn't clear yet.
Security was heightened in major Gujarat cities on Monday and mobile internet services were barred in Ahmedabad, Surat, Mehsana and Rajkot, as two Patidar groups – Sardar Patel Group and Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti – called for a bandh in the state. The curfew imposed in Mehsana was lifted, and schools and colleges remain open. The Gujarat government plans to hold talks with leaders of the community on Monday afternoon, NDTV reported.
Sunday's rally was part of a Jail Bharo agitation launched by the Sardar Patel Group, one of the bigger outfits seeking reservations for the Patel community. Some 5,000 protesters clashed with the police in Mehsana, after they were stopped from heading to the city prison to court arrest. While protesters claimed their rally was peaceful and they had not provoked the authorities, police said they resorted to lathi-charge only after some agitators started throwing stones at the police vehicles.
Among the Patel leaders whose release protesters were demanding was Hardik Patel, the leader of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti. He has been in jail since October last year on charges of sedition after he organised a massive agitation to demand benefits for the Patidar community. Courts have repeatedly rejected his bail petitions.