Violent protests have broken out in the home state of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Members of the Patel caste are demanding more jobs from the federal government, which they feel discriminates against them.
Clashes broke out on Sunday in the state of Gujarat after an undisclosed number of people took to the streets to protest the arrest of Hardik Patel (pictured), a member of the Patel community.
Around 400 people were reportedly detained across the state, with marches turning especially violent in the town of Mehsana, where protestors hurled stones and police used water cannon and tear gas to disperse people. Indian broadcaster NDTV reported that at least 12 people were injured there.
Patel has been in jail since the fall after emerging as the leader of a movement for more government jobs and college places for members of the Patel community, which accounts for 14 percent of Gujarat’s 60 million people. He was arrested in October on sedition charges.
New Delhi has set aside a number of jobs for certain castes, but other communities not included in the scheme feel discriminated against.
Earlier this year another caste, the Jat, also staged a series of protests in the state of Haryana in order to demand similar opportunities.