Ahmedabad: An uneasy calm prevailed in Gujarat today after two days of violence during the OBC quota stir of Patel community even as death toll rose to 10 and a defiant Hardik Patel vowed to intensify the agitation.
Notwithstanding appeals for peace by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Anandiben Patel, 22-year-old Hardik, who is spearheading the agitation, today 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 the violence. The issue rocked the Gujarat Assembly with Speaker suspending 54 Congress MLAs amid bedlam over it.
Three Congress MLAs were absent while Leader of Opposition Shankar Sinh Waghela remained seated. Congress has 58 MLAs in the 182-member Assembly.
The Army, which has been deployed since yesterday, conducted flag marches in Ahmedabad to instill confidence among the people in the wake of the violence.
The Army has been also deployed in Surat and Mehasana. Rail traffic remained totally disrupted today as protesters have uprooted tracks in at least eight places, a senior official said.
“No untoward incidents were reported from the entire Ahmedabad district today. Government and private offices, business establishments, shopping complexes and shops remained open,” District Collector Rajkumar Beniwal told reporters. “(Road) traffic is normal as well. Situation is under control and peace is prevailing in the city.”
Beniwal said five companies of Army (over 500 personnel) conducted flag march in the areas worst affected by the violence.
Curfew has been lifted from Surat city after no untoward incident was reported from there since last night. “We have withdrawn curfew from two areas in Surat from 8 am.
There is normalcy and peace in the city. Shops are open, people went for their businesses, factories are open. Our officials are present in various areas and police patrolling is continuing,” Police Commissioner Rakesh Asthana said.
All Congress MLAs present in the Assembly, barring Opposition Leader Shankarsinh Vaghela, were suspended for a day as the House witnessed ruckus over the quota agitation by Patels. Earlier, the House was adjourned three times by the Speaker.
A man from Nikol area of Ahmedabad city identified as Manish Valadia, who was injured during violence yesterday, died today in a private hospital, police officials said, taking the toll to 10.