Following a fresh flare-up in the district, Morbi Superintendent of Police Rajan Susra was transferred with immediate effect late on Wednesday evening and was replaced by Jaipalsinh Rathore. With him, Morbi deputy superintendent of police was also transferred. The district, however, remained calm on Thursday.
Through an order, the state home department transferred Susra to Ahmedabad city police and posted him as deputy commissioner of zone VI. The same order transferred Rathore from Chhota Udepur and replaced Susra in Morbi. Rathore assumed charge as Morbi SP early on Thursday. Another order from the department transferred Morbi DSP Komal Vyas and posted her in Anand. She has been replaced by Rajdeepsinh Zala, the assistant commissioner of police (traffic), in Ahmedabad city.
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The transfer came hours after angry mobs protesting against the arrest of Patidar quota agitation leader Hardik Patel allegedly set three state transport buses on fire and clashed with police on Tuesday night in Morbi. Police had to fire rubber bullets and lob teargas shells to disperse rioters and drive them away from highways which they had blocked. Local leaders of the quota agitation had given a call for day-long bandh in Morbi to protest a case of sedition filed against Hardik, the convener of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), in Surat city. However, the strike turned violent in the evening.
The fresh spell of violence in Morbi started on October 18 after Hardik was detained by Rajkot police. The quota agitation leader was on his way to watch the One-Day International (ODI) cricket match between India and South Africa in Rajkot when he was detained as a preventive measure.
The PAAS convener had threatened to use the match as a platform for Patidar agitation. But the police action in Rajkot found repercussions in Morbi as mobs set Gujarat State Road Transport Corporation (GSRTC) buses on fire in Tanakara and Mahendranagar area.
The district has remained tense since then, even as other districts in the region have remained calm. Morbi had seen large-scale violence for two days after police baton-charged a rally of Patidars in Ahmedabad on August 25. Violent mobs had allegedly burnt down more than a dozen buses of GSRTC and vandalised three dozen others. They had also torched a police post in Morbi town and set afire offices of Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Mohan Kundariya.