Mobile Internet services have been suspended and chat apps such as WhatsApp have been blocked in parts of Gujarat following violent clashes between the Patel community and the police.
The move was instigated by politician Hardik Patel’s call for a bandh in the state on Wednesday following the violence that broke out during the previous night.
Patel sent out a WhatsApp text message that read “I make an appeal to maintain peace and keep calm. I give a call for Gujarat bandh tomorrow (Wednesday). This decision has been taken by Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti considering widespread violence in the state.”
Patel’s supporters have extensively relied on WhatsApp to broadcast videos and make media announcements, which is probably what led to the government taking the step of curbing mobile Internet communications.
22-year old Hardik Patel, convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti, led a rally demanding OBC status for the Patidar community in order to even out the competition for enrollment in universities and government jobs.
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