Many believed that it was guaranteed that as soon as Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar gave in to the demands of Jats for reservation quota; Patels would revive their demand for quota in Gujarat.
The premonition came true as Patels in Gujarat began the demand for release of Hardik Patel who is in jail since October on sedition charges. Hardik Patel is the young leader of Patidar Samaj in Gujarat who has demanded reservation for Patels.
The demonstrators in Gujarat's Mehsana district turned violent and police had a tough time containing stone pelting demonstrators. Hundreds were detained by police to maintain calm in the state. Section 144 was lifted from Mehsana today once the region turned peaceful again.
#Gujarat: Elaborate security arrangements have been made to maintain law and order situation in view of today's Bandh call.— All India Radio News (@airnewsalerts) April 18, 2016
The state in parts again witnessed jamming of internet so that rumours are not spread. The state-wide bandh announced by two community bodies Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) and Sardar Patel Group (SPG) today saw partial observation.
Response of Gujarat Government:
The Gujarat government meanwhile is reaching out to the Patidar (Patel) community leaders to ensure that peace is maintained in the state and solution is arrived at. PAAS, along with SPG, has been spearheading the reservation stir for Patels in Gujarat since mid 2015.
Nitin Patel, spokesperson and minister of health, Government of Gujarat was quoted saying that, "We will be meeting with the community leaders to arrive at a consensus. The truce talks have not been suspended. We are hopeful of a positive outcome. In the meantime, community members should stay away from rumours and maintain peace".
Police had made elaborate arrangement in view of bandh called by the two Patel organisations. However, the bandh call did not affect schools, colleges, public transport and trains. As per the police bandh had little effect on big cities like Ahmedabad, Rajkot and Surat.
Areas with high Patel population only observed bandh and followed orders of their community leaders to surrender in jail in a protest against Hardik Patel's detention.
Meanwhile in the afternoon there was a news report that 27-year-old Bhavin Mansukh Khunt who belonged to Surat city committed suicide by consuming poison to show solidarity with Patel Reservation demand.
Shiv Sena targets PM over Gujarat unrest:
Shiv Sena through its mouthpiece Samana targeted Prime Minister Narendra Modi for paying foreign visits at the cost of ignoring Gujarat. Sena said that this was not a good sign of governance.
Home Minister seeks response from Gujarat government:
Meanwhile, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has sought response from Gujarat government over the prevailing condition in Gujarat and the measures undertaken by the government to contain Patel agitation.
He has also sought the state government's response on how it plans to amicably resolve the issue.
Gujarat High Court rules against mob rioters:
Meanwhile in what could have a great bearing on the present condition in the state, Gujarat High Court in its ruling has mentioned that all are equally guilty in mob riot. This observation of the Court was in response of a 13 year old case in which rioters had committed acts of violence and dacoity resulting in a person's death.
A bench of Justice KS Jhaveri and Justice G B Shah observed that,
"Riots, resulting in serious injuries or even death, are of frequent occurrence in this state and cases relating to such riots require careful handling.
A large number of persons are involved and evidence is often entirely of partisan character. There is, moreover, great danger of innocent persons being implicated along with the guilty, owing to the tendency of parties to try to implicate falsely as many of their enemies as they can.
Law is very clear that if an offence is committed by any member of an unlawful assembly in furtherance of the common object of that assembly, every member of that unlawful assembly is guilty of that offence.
Specific overt act of each member needs not be proved when the accused are proved to be members of that assembly.".