AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat bandh call given by Patel quota agitators failed to evoke much response in the state and passed off peacefully barring in Mehsana, where a mob torched a minister's vacant house.
A state committee of ministers, formed to negotiate with the quota agitators, held a "fruitful and positive" meeting in Gandhinagar over the demands with several leaders of the Patel community, who are working as mediators. Another round of talks will soon be held to arrive at a solution.
Police had made elaborate security arrangements in view of the state-wide bandh call given by the Sardar Patel Group (SPG) demanding reservation and immediate release of their jailed leaders. Schools, colleges, public transport and the normal life were not affected by the bandh call.
"No major incident took place today. We have deployed adequate number of policemen and paramilitary forces across Gujarat today to ensure safety and security of citizens," DGP in-charge P P Pandey said.
Barring few minor incidents, the situation remained calm throughout the day, he said.
The curfew imposed yesterday in Mehsana town after violent clashes between protesters and police, was lifted this morning and the bandh call largely went off peacefully, although Gujarat Minister of State for Home Rajni Patel's vacant home in Mehsana town was set on fire by the Patel agitators, police said.
"Unidentified men stormed into the empty house and set ablaze the furniture and other belongings. The mob also hurled stones on fire tenders trying to reach there. This is the same house which was set on fire in August last year during agitation related violence," said an official of control room.
According to police, Patel has his official house in Gandhinagar, but sometimes visit his Mehsana residence.
The ban on mobile Internet services imposed in some towns for a day yesterday, including Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot and Mehsana, was till midnight.
"We had lifted curfew in Mehsana at 6 am as the situation was under control. No reports of untoward incident came during the bandh call. Mobile Internet services will remain off in the city till this midnight," Mehsana District Collector Lochan Sehra told PTI.