A curfew has been imposed in India’s western state of Gujarat following violence after a massive rally by the Patel community demanding better access to jobs and education. A day-long strike called by the community is also being observed. The main city of Ahmedabad is virtually shut down.
Tuesday’s rally turned violent when protesters clashed with local people where at least 70 buses were torched.
Patels make up 20% of the population of Gujarat. The caste is economically and politically powerful but the protesters say quotas for lower castes put them at a disadvantage. The rally was addressed by Hardik Patel, a 22-year-old controversial community leader. Several incidents of violence and rioting were reported from across Ahmedabad late on Tuesday following the detention of Mr. Patel, who was later released.
The BBC reporter in Ahmedabad says curfew has been imposed in nine areas of Ahmedabad, as well as in the Surat and Mehsana districts after clashes broke out after Tuesday’s meeting, attended by some 300,000 people belonging to the community.
Reports say the security forces used batons to disperse thousands of people. Other protesters reportedly destroyed cars; and stones were thrown as members of the Patel community clashed with people from lower castes. (BBC)