The thrashing of Dalits in Una last week sparked protests among the Scheduled Castes with several incidents of stone-pelting and road blockades reported from many parts of Gujarat on Tuesday. The pelting and burning of buses led to the cancellation of transport services in Saurashtra.
A policeman was also killed in the violence. “Head constable with local crime branch, Pankaj Amreli, was injured in the stone-pelting. He died during treatment at Rajkot hospital,” police said.
“The police arrested one more person who attempted suicide in Gondal town of Rajkot. He was arrested and admitted to the government hospital. His condition is stable,” said an official from the state police control room. Official also said that local bus services such as the BRTS were affected due to stone-pelting in Malavianagar and Puneetnagar areas of Rajkot city. A local bus was damaged by protesters even in Chandkheda region of Ahmedabad.
The Gujarat State Roads and Transportation Corporation (GSRTC) had to cancel all the buses on the Saurashtra –Rajkot route. “Buses from Jamnagar, Junagadh, Amreli and Porbandar leaving for Rajkot were cancelled on advise of the police department. “We are keeping a watch on the situation in coordinating with the police and will resume the services only after clearance from them,” said GSRTC chief traffic and chief commercial officer JH Solanki.
Condemning the Una incident, opposition Congress and the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) called for a protest rally on Wednesday. “I see a clear hand of the BJP in the incident, where police were mute spectators,” Congress leader Shankersinh Vaghela said. In Surendranagar, agitators blocked a highway by putting carcass of a cow in the middle of the road, police said.
(With inputs from agencies)