NH 48 reopened after three days: Protest called off, 5 Gujarat districts on alert

Local tribal youth were demanding appointment of scheduled tribe candidates to unreserved seats in teachers’ enrollment in Rajasthan 

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The NH 48 highway re-opened on Sunday, three days after Gujarat police blocked the route for vehicles from Gujarat to Rajasthan (vice versa) and created diversions, reported The Indian Express. However, the Police in five districts of Gujarat that are along the Rajasthan border remained on high alert over the weekend. This, stated news reports, was a precautionary move undertaken in the wake of a violent protest and arson allegedly by tribal youth of Udaipur in Rajasthan. According to news reports, as the situation improved on Sunday night once the agitation was called off, the National Highway 48 (Ahmedabad-Udaipur) was opened after three days.

It has been reported that hundreds of local tribal youth have been on protest, Since Friday. They are demanding that the government appoint scheduled tribe (ST) candidates, to unreserved seats in teachers’ enrollment in Rajasthan. The protest forced the cops to redirect traffic on the highway towards the Palanpur-Amirgadh-Abu Road route over the weekend. The Indian Express quoted ML Lather, DG (Crime Branch) of Rajasthan Police, who said that till Sunday, 21 FIRs had been registered in connection with the violence and protests that began on September 24, adding that the police have arrested more than 40 persons so far.

On Saturday and Sunday, the protesters clashed with Rajasthan police while being stationed atop hills, said media reports, even as the local administration struggled to contain the violence. 

According to Hindustan Times, the Rajasthan violence left one dead, and five injured. The violence had erupted in Udaipur’s Kherwara town on Saturday evening as the protesters allegedly went on a rampage, damaging properties and torching vehicles in the area while the police fired rubber bullets to control the situation, officials were quoted by HT. The youth were all candidates of the teachers recruitment examination-2018 blocked the Udaipur-Ahmedabad highway. The state government on Saturday rushed senior police personnel – director-general of police (DGP) (crime) ML Lathar; Jaipur police commissioner Anand Shrivastwa; and additional director-general of police (ADG), anti-corruption bureau (ACB), Dinesh MN – to Udaipur to bring the situation under control, said the news report. 

Rajasthan chief minister Ashok Gehlot also appealed to the protesters to maintain calm, and end the demonstration, saying his administration is ready to meet all the legitimate demands, according to a statement. 



The HT reported  that Governor Kalraj Mishra also phoned Gehlot and called principal secretary (home) Abhay Kumar and ADG (law and order) Saurabh Srivastava to Raj Bhawan, directing them to control the situation. Internet services were suspended in four districts — Dungarpur, Udaipur, Banswara and Pratapgarh – of southern Rajasthan on Saturday and Section 144 (prohibition of gathering of five or more persons) of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) was imposed. At least six trucks, five buses, four police vehicles, nine cars, nine tempos and a motorcycle have been torched in the region over the last three days. Over 1,000 rubber bullets were fired by the police to bring the situation under control.

Police said one of the protesters, identified as Tarun Ahari, succumbed to his injuries. It is unclear how Ahari was injured in the protest, added HT.



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