5 killed in clashes in western Indian state
Five people were killed and more than 100 injured in clashes among various political groups in the western Indian state of Gujarat on Wednesday, Xinhua reported.
Riots, arson, stone-pelting and widespread damage to public and private property forced the authorities to call the army and paramilitary forces, according to local media.
"Three people were killed in Ahmedabad and two in Banaskantha in firing by the paramilitary forces while attempting to control rioting mobs," the Indo-Asian News Service quoted an official at the Gujarat State Police Control as saying.
At least 100 people were injured in violence, mainly in group clashes and stone-pelting incidents, in the state from where Prime Minister Narendra Modi hails.
As many as 133 companies of the Indian Army, Central Reserve Police Force, State Reserve Police Force, Rapid Action Force and Border Security Force besides Gujarat Police were engaged in controlling violent mobs in various cities including Ahmedabad, Surat, Rajkot, Jamnagar, Morbi, Vadodara, Mehsana and Banaskantha.
The Indian authorities earlier Wednesday clamped a curfew on several parts of Gujarat, following violence after a huge rally by the Patel community Tuesday.
"The curfew has been imposed in three towns of northern Gujarat and some areas of the cities of Surat, Ahmedabad, Mehsana and Rajkot," a senior police officer said.
He added: "The central government has sent a huge contingent of paramilitary personnel to help the state police maintain law and order in areas where curfew has been imposed."
The curfew was imposed after members of the Patel community late Tuesday night resorted to arson, stone-pelting and vandalism following brief detention of their 22-year-old leader Hardik Patel.
Patel was detained after he addressed a massive rally, demanding better access to jobs and education for members of the community, where violence broke out following clashes with locals.
Local TV channels reported that the community leader has also called a state-wide shut down on Wednesday, which has affected schools, businesses and public transport in Ahmedabad and other parts.
Patels make up 20 percent of the population of Gujarat, also a strong bastion of the country's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.
Though the caste is economically and politically powerful, they claim quotas for lower castes put them at disadvantage.