Following the ongoing tension in several areas of Ahmedabad over reservation of Patels in OBC quota, the Gujarat state government took assistance from the Indian Army to take control over the riot like situation which started on August 25th night. Eight columns of the army from Ahmedabad and Gandhinagar have moved in to the sensitive zones of the city.
Talking to TEHELKA, Wing Commander Abhishek Matiman, Defence PRO, Gujarat informed, “Earlier on Wednesday evening the state government approached the army for assistance. These eight columns of army are marching in sensitive areas, asking people to avoid any clashes with the police. As such they are not deployed. During the patrolling, they are only trying to persuade people to maintain peace.”
On August 25th night, riot like situation prevailed in the city after the detention of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti leader Hardik Patel, who has been demanding OBC quota for Patels. The 22-year-old was later released in the night following the protest by Patel community in several areas of the city. Local buses, cars and motorbikes were set ablaze, stone pelting took place and a couple of police stations and BRT stations were vandalised by the agitated protesters.
Similar situation continued on August 26th in Bapa Nagar circle and Nikol area . The aggravated Patel community in these areas burned motorcycles . When TEHELKA reached the spot, it found that protestors were extremely aggravated by police action.
According to one 18-year-old boy, the police threw tear gas shells within the residential complexes of Bapa Nagar, forcefully entered in their houses and thrashed the people.
“We cannot stop ourselves because of this reaction of the police,” said one of the agitated protestors in Bapa Nagar circle. Similar was the situation in Nikol area where protesters destroyed public property to large extent. ATM machine has been torched in the area. On every ten yards bike, chairs and other things were put on fire and arterial roads were blocked by cement pipes, iron roads and uprooted street lights. On Wednesday morning 70-80 people pelted stones . They destroyed the public property and torched everything. Taking action against the miscreants police and paramilitary forces had to lathicharge them. In the evening almost 500 people once again came on the roads to mark their protest in the Nikol area.
On the other side of the city, protesters uprooted rail tracks in Chandlodia area. Railway services were disrupted. Delhi bound trains including Rajdhani were suspended whereas the route of local train routes were changed. Minor activities were reported in several other areas of the city.
The spate of incidents from Tuesday night onwards has led to the killing of four people. Meanwhile, Hardik Patel, later in the evening in his press conference said that the violence has erupted owing to police and state government’s action. Patel clarified his protest will continue as he will be on fast till Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel does not visit him for the OBC reservation.