Heavy security has been put in place at Saurashtra Cricket Association Stadium in Rajkot where India and South Africa will play the third one-day international or ODI match amid protests by the Patel community demanding reservation under OBC quota.
The protest will be led by 22-year-old Hardik Patel, the convener of the Patidar Anamat Andolan Samiti (PAAS), who has threatened to block the entry for the Indian and South African cricket teams to the stadium on Sunday to highlight their demand for reservation for Patel community in government jobs and educational sectors.
The state authorities have further blocked mobile Internet services from Saturday night to Monday morning to prevent rumours from spreading. "We have decided to ban mobile Internet services from 10pm tonight till 8am on October 19 to maintain peace, stop rumours and for the smooth conduct of the international cricket match," PTI quoted District Collector Manisha Chandra as saying on Saturday.
1:38 pm: Hardik Patel was detained while protesting outside the stadium.
FLASH: Hardik Patel detained as he was protesting outside the stadium in Rajkot.
— ANI (@ANI_news) October 18, 2015
To ensure peaceful conduct of the ODI match, more than 2,000 policemen have been deployed at the stadium, located at Khandheri village on the outskirts of Rajkot city. Drone cameras and CCTV cameras have also been placed to track any suspicious activity.
"Over two thousand policemen, three companies of State Reserve Police Force (SRPF), one company of Rapid Action Force (RAF), and seven teams of quick response cells (QRC) and five Superintendents of Police (SPs) have been deployed to ensure smooth conduct of the match," Rajkot Range IG DR Patel said.
"Besides, three drone cameras and 90 CCTVs have been installed at the stadium to closely monitor each and every movement of the viewers," he added.
Earlier this month, reports suggested that the Patidar community has bought over 1,000 tickets for India vs South Africa third ODI match to lodge their protest effectively.
To counter the Patels' protest, the BJP is reported to have bought nearly 20,000 tickets in the stadium that has a capacity for 28,000-seats. The BJP's move is being seen as an attempt to disrupt the match and put the blame on the Patels.
"We have reports that BJP men will create a ruckus at the match venue and they will blame us for that. They are going to spoil the image of the country, we will never wish that," Hardik's aide Dinesh Patel said.
PAAS, led by Hardik, have been agitating across Gujarat demanding reservation for the Patidar community under OBC quota. Their first protest in August had turned violent, forcing the state authorities to impose curfew in several parts of Gujarat.