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Gujarat agitation: Mob turns violent after Hardik Patel’s detention

Surat: Non-violent protests that started soon after detention of Hardik Patel on Saturday morning in Surat city turned violent by evening. Stone pelting was reported in Kapodra area of the city as mobs started gathering near Kapodra police station.

At all major cross roads in Patidar dominated areas men and women started gathering by afternoon. Initially, the crowd started reciting ‘Ramdhun’ while beating steel plates. Mob gathering was reported in parts of Kapodra, Sarthana, Punagam and Varachha areas of the city. The crowd demanded release of Hardik, who was detained by police at starting point of Ekta Yatra in Varachha. Total 36 persons including Hardik and his supporters were detained by police and kept in police custody at police headquarters in Athwalines.

Patidar youth forced shops in Yogi Chowk of Punagam to close down. Gradually, majority of the markets in patidar dominated areas were closed. All the major market like Chauta Bazaar and Bhagal were closed by evening fearing untoward incident.

The crowd demanding Hardik’s release turned violent in evening in Kapodra area as they resorted to stone pelting on police. The mobs pelted stones at Kapodra police station and attempted to torch a vehicle that was carrying SRP jawans. Women gathered at Kapodra police station damaged entry gate of the police station.

Police lobbed tear-gas shells to disperse the crowd. The rioting mobs blocked all major cross roads in Varachha and Kapodra area. They also blocked the flyovers to disconnect the city from main entry points in city from National Highway 8.

Crowd gathered near Kamrej blocked National Highway 8 near Tapi River bridge close to Surat city. Around 4km long traffic jam was reported at the location.

Following detention of Patel and his associates, authorities of Surat, Ahmedabad, Vadodara and Rajkot have issued notifications suspending mobile internet services in the four cities to preempt any untoward incident owing to rumour mongering.

Gujarat Police does not seem to be taking chances with the law and order situation and immediately instructed concerned authorities across the state to take a decision on imposing ban on mobile internet services as per the situation in their respective jurisdictional areas. It is also noteworthy that Gujarat Chief Minister Anandiben Patel is in Surat district to attend a public function.

Gujarat DGP PC Thakur said, “There is no blanket ban on mobile internet in the State. All the Police Commissioners and offices of district Superintendents of Police have been asked to take a decision on banning mobile internet service depending upon the circumstances in their respective jurisdictions.”