India

Tension in Surat: Patidars torch buses, vandalize property

13 Sep 2017 | By Gogona Saikia
Patidars turn violent in Surat

Tension broke out in Gujarat's Surat after some Patidar protesters torched two buses in Varachha area.

Stray incidents of violence were being reported in the city since some days. Yesterday, as the BJP youth wing held a meeting at Saurashtra Bhavan, Patidar youths intervened and created a ruckus and threw stones.

Police then baton-charged protesters and detained about 12 people.

In context: Patidars turn violent in Surat

13 Sep 2017Tension in Surat: Patidars torch buses, vandalize property

MovementThe Patidar agitation that started in 2015

Surat has a Patidar population of about 10 lakh. Many of them have been involved in the Hardik Patel-led Patidar agitation that started in 2015.

At least seven people were killed and property worth Rs. 40cr damaged in the protests that year.

Fresh violence broke out in 2016 in Gujarat's Mehsana. Nearly 25,000 protesters gathered for a 'Jail Bharo' stir.

What do the Patidars want?

DemandsWhat do the Patidars want?

The Patidars have been demanding reservation for Patels under the OBC section in educational establishments and government jobs.

After widespread protests, Gujarat announced a 10% reservation for the "economically backward in the general category", which also includes Patels.

However, the community dismissed it as "an attempt to weaken our agitation". "It's a lollypop," said Nikhil Savani, convenor of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti.

What happened on September 12?

As Rutvij Patel, president of Gujarat BJP's youth wing, led a party meeting at Saurashtra Bhavan, Patidar youths gathered there. Clashes soon broke out. Several people were detained by cops. In the aftermath, protesters vandalized bus stands, torched buses and pelted stones.

StatusIs this the beginning of another violent agitation?

Hardik Patel dismissed reports and said the Patidar protests were peaceful. "If detained youths aren't released at the earliest, Gujarat will witness a revolution," he tweeted.

Meanwhile, Rutvij Patel claims just a few people were responsible for the violence. "Otherwise, the entire Patel community is with us."

The timing is significant: PM Narendra Modi and Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will arrive in Gujarat today.