Gujarat protests: Internet ban lifted, Hardik plans more rallies

Ahmedabad: The mobile internet ban was lifted today in Gandhinagar and Vadodara as the situation remained peaceful in Gujarat after yesterday’s sporadic violence over the arrest of quota leader Hardik Patel, who said plans are being drawn up for “bigger” rallies in the state.

As the Patel community pushed for inclusion in OBC quota, a prominent OBC leader Alpesh Thakor opposed their demand but suggested that the state government can offer financial package for poor members of Patel and other communities. Thakor is Convener of the OBC Ekta Manch.

Hardik was arrested in Surat last night for defying prohibitory orders clamped ahead of his ‘Ekta March’ for reservation under OBC quota but was freed on bail by a court soon afterwards.

“The situation is totally under control across the state. No incidents of clashes or violence have been reported today,” an official at the state police control room said, adding that mobile internet ban has been lifted in Gandhinagar.

The ban on mobile internet services was also lifted in Vadodara city.

“Looking at current situation, I have ordered to lift the ban on mobile internet from today afternoon,” Vadodara Police Commissioner E Radhakrishnan said.

State Director General of Police (DGP) P C Thakur had yesterday banned mobile internet services across Gujarat for indefinite period to stop possible rumours.

“Some angry locals of Bapunagar area came on roads and threw stones yesterday. However, local police along with State Reserve Police dispersed the mob. The situation is calm today,” Bapunagar police inspector R K Ladva said.

In Surat, the situation is under control following clashes yesterday after Hardik’s detention.

“There are no reports of violence today in the city. Situation is normal and peaceful,” Surat Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.

Similarly in Mehsana town, where angry protesters gathered in large numbers at Modhera road yesterday, there was no sign of any such protest today, an official at the district police control room said.

“We are planning a bigger rally and we will have a meeting tomorrow. The rally would be conducted at several places including Surat, Rajkot, Ahmedabad, Junagarh, Bhavnagar and Mehsana. We are expecting 10-15 lakh people to come and attend the rally,” Hardik told reporters.