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Patel agitation: Curfew lifted in 3 areas of Ahmedabad

AHMEDABAD: Tension eased across Gujarat as no incident of violence, sparked by Patel community’s quota agitation, was reported overnight, while curfew was on Friday lifted in three out of the nine areas of Ahmedabad even as Army continued flag march in some sensitive areas.

The situation in Gujarat, bearing the brunt of the agitation by Patel community seeking reservation under OBC category, is gradually returning to normal, officials said.

“Curfew has been lifted in Naranpura, Ghatlodia and Vadaj police stations areas of Ahmedabad today. The decision was taken after no incident of violence was reported in these areas,” a city control room police official said.

“The situation in other areas of the city is normal and we are likely to lift curfew there also if tension eases,” he said.

Curfew was clamped in nine areas of the city – Nikol, Odhav, Ramol, Bapunagar, Ghatlodia, Naranpura, Naroda, Krishnanagar and Vadaj – on August 26 after widespread violence, incidents of arson and stone-pelting were reported there.

Ahmedabad district collector Rajkumar Beniwal said the Army continued flag march on roads in some city areas on Friday.

“Army’s flag march continued today in sensitive areas where violence was reported,” Beniwal said.

The situation is completely peaceful and under control in Ahmedabad as no reports of violence have come in last 24 hours, he said.

The traffic movement was normal in the city and BRTS (Bus Rapid Transport System) buses started running on Friday. The AMTS (Ahmedabad Municipal Transport Services) buses are likely to start operations in the afternoon.

Business establishments, markets and shops are open in the city. However, schools and colleges in six areas of the city, where curfew is still on, are closed on Friday.

The other parts of Gujarat like Rajkot, Surat, Banaskantha and Mehsana have also not reported any major incident of violence, a control room official said.

The diamond and textile industries in Surat city opened on Friday, after being shut for two days.

Notwithstanding appeals for peace by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and chief minister Anandiben Patel, Patel community’s 22-year-old leader Hardik Patel, who is spearheading the agitation, had yesterday upped the ante asking farmers of his community not to supply essential commodities like vegetables and milk to cities and support the demand for reservation in jobs and education under OBC quota.

He also demanded compensation of Rs 35 lakh each for the families of his community members who died in violence.