More than one thousand women gheraoed the Visnagar police station, Mehsana district in north Gujarat on Monday evening demanding the release of eight persons arrested by the local police in the past couple of days for their roles in the cases of rioting during Patel reservation agitation last week.
Mehsana district is one of the worst affected areas where the agitators targeted houses of two state ministers including Rajnikant Patel and Nitin Patel and BJP MLA Jayshree Patel were attacked on last Tuesday night.
According to police, groups of women in large numbers started pouring in around the police station where eight persons were arrested in two different cases of rioting in the past two days.
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The women demanded release of the men while claiming that they were innocent and the police wrongly picked them up. Taken aback by the numbers the Police officials tried to pacify the women that once arrested police can’t release them as it would be decided by the court.
“They were demanding to release the men arrested in the past couple of days in different offences. We tried to tell them that they can be released only by the court and not by the police as per the law. They understood and started dispersing,” Gandhinagar Range IG Hasmukh Patel said. The moment news spread about the gathering of women senior officials rushed to the spot.
Since the violence started following the detention of Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS) leader Hardik Patel and lathicharge on the mob at GMDC ground in Ahmedabad on August 25 night, Mehsana remained “volatile.” During the violence at least two persons were killed in the district while a number of public properties including police establishments were set on fire by the agitators.
The district police is said to have lodged at least 51 FIRs including in the incidents involving attack on the residences of Rajnikant Patel, Minister of State for Home, Nitin Patel, Health Minister, and MLA Jayshree Patel. Mehsana was among the first places where the police imposed curfew following the violence.