Prime Minister Narendra Modi made an appeal for maintaining peace and calm in Gujarat after several parts of the state were hit by violence after a massive rally held by Patidar Patel community seeking reservation on Tuesday. The violence had sparked off after their community leader Hardik Patel was detained by the police and several rallyists were injured in a police lathicharge at the rally venue.
PM Modi lent a suggestion that all issues can be resolved peacefully through discussions.
“I appeal to all brothers and sisters of Gujarat that they should not resort to violence. The only Mantra must be Shanti,” the Prime Minister said making an appeal over television.
Speaking in Gujarati, the Prime Minister further added that “Gujarat is a land of Mahatma Gandhi and Sardar Patel”.
Narendra Modi, who served as the Chief Minister of Gujarat for more than 13 years before taking over as the Prime Minister said that the “violence has never done good for anyone. All issues can be resolved peacefully through talks”.
Even as the PM appealed for calm, violence was reported from parts of Surat after the protestors clashed with the police and paramilitary. The police on some occasion even used the teargas shells to disperse the crowd. Tension was expected after the protesting Patel sub community leader Hardik Patel called for the state wide bandh late on Tuesday night even as the state government imposed curfew in parts of Ahmedabad, Rajkot, Surat and Mehsana districts.
Normal life was paralysed in the major cities of Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and in North Gujarat region with schools, colleges, business establishments including banks and public transport remaining shut in most places in view of the bandh call. Ahmedabad, however, reported lesser number of incidents and remained largely peaceful.
“Police is working to bring law and order situation under control. There are no major incidents of violence in the city morning after curfew was imposed in nine police station areas of the city,” Ahmedabad City Police Commissioner, Shivanand Jha said.
While in Surat, incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported in many parts of the city where the members of Patel community came out in large numbers responding to the calls of bandh. According to the latest reports, two warehouses of Surat Municipal Corporation in Udhna area of the city were set on fire. The police also reported several incidents where buses, bikes and other vehicles too were either damaged or set ablaze.
The diamond and textile industries of Surat remained closed.
“Extra state reserve police force (SRP) companies have been deployed in the city to bring the situation under control, while we have also sought deployment of central forces. They will be deployed as and when their companies arrive here,” Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
In Saurashtra region, there was total bandh in major cities and towns of Rajkot, Jamnagar, Bhavnagar and Porbandar. Incidents of sporadic violence were reported in all the four districts during the bandh on Wednesday. According to the police, Rajkot Superintendent of Police (Rural) Gagandeep Gambhir was injured in stone-throwing near Upleta road area.
In Vadodara, schools and colleges remained closed, but shops and commercial establishments were open. The bandh got a mixed response in Anand town too.
(With inputs from the PTI)